Flying for Foreign Carriers/airlines

shon7

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Any of you who have worked for foreign carriers/airlines and are willing to share the experience.

How did you get the position, what was the experience like, what difficulties did you face, how did you adjust? Would you recomment it to other aviators?
 

RightBettor

Betting "Don't" these day
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While not really a foreign carrier...

"Shon7"

I flew for a commuter airline called Pacific Island Aviation out in Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). It is a US territory, but it is not the USA. While not really a foreign carrier, PIA is about as far from the US you can get while still enjoying the benefits of US citizenship. That is, you won't be tossed in jail for calling the CNMI governor a "bozo." However, you are still under US DOT/FAA jurisdiction. The Honolulu FSDO handles Guam and the CNMI.

I flew the Shorts SD3-60 for this company, and I can honestly say I had a great time working there!! People are friendly, you live on a tropical island (although the 'brakish' water in your shower gets old), you don't pay federal or state taxes (maintain a residence and get a CNMI driver's license for $10 and you are set... pay about 4% of your entire income to the CNMI govenment! Period!!!!), Saipan has a real small-community feel to it, the company paid Shorts FOs about $23K a year with full benefits (HMO/Dental fully paid by PIA) back in 1995, the SCUBA diving is great, Rota is beautiful, Tinian is full of history (Enola Gay and Bocks Car were based there), you can shop at Costco, eat at McDonalds, Wendy's, Subway, or "Auntie Mags."

Go on a web search and check out Pacific Island Aviation or Saipan. I'm sure you'll find some interesting info. I don't know what PIA wants for minimums. I had about 2500 Total and 250 Multi when I got the job there.

"Hafa Adai"

RightBettor

P.S. Just checked the PIA website at:

www.pacificislandaviation.com

They want Shorts FOs. Mins are 1500 total time and 500 multi. I'll bet you stand a good chance with a state-side regional if you have that kind of time. That is, go there because you want to, not because you have to... remember times were a lot different when I was there in 1995.
 
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B720

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Dec 17, 2001
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Shon7,

I am US/European citizen employed by a foreign flag carrier. Although my pay is not nearly as good as the top US carriers the working conditions/lifestyle/vacation and JOB SECURITY issues are very satisfactory.

Many of these carriers operate a "cadet" program, i.e. they train you to fly. Applicants have been turned away for too much flight-time, in fact I know people in my company (pilots) who had never been in a plane before they were flown to the training school! I personally had 249 (very light piston) hours total time when hired many moons ago. But in Europe this is not unusual, and you can be successful if you have the right to work in the EU. They also hire "direct entrant" pilots and the required hours are very small compared to the US. You will need an EU/JAA pilots license to be considered for that sceme.

The only downside for me is missing the USA, but with the company travel etc. I get back many times a year. For what it's worth, I love it.

Good Luck (the harder I work the luckier I get)

My Two CENT (Official plural for Euro currency)
 

shon7

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Hey Rightbettor, thanks for your reply. I have heard lot of conflicting opinions about Pacific Island and a lot of people seem to suggest that this company makes you pay for the right seat job.

Are these just rumors or is there any truth to this?
 

RightBettor

Betting "Don't" these day
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Not in 1995.

Although things may have changed, I did NOT have to "PFT" at Pacific Island Aviation. I had to agree to stay for 12 months, however. But this was only a "gentlemen's agreement"... a handshake, so to speak. After 12 months of service I was able to get an ID50 positive space travel pass on NWA back to the states, so long as I gave them a two-week notice upon resigning. I did, and they flew me home on their dime.

There were some rumblings about bringing in PFT pilots while I was there, but it was quickly squelched when all the Captains stood together and said, "WE will NOT fly with PFT first officers!"

Amazing what can be accomplished when we all stand together... go figure.

Bear in mind, things may have changed since 1995-96.

Regards,
RightBettor
 
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