Vietnam Airlines raises pilots’ salaries to ward off poachers

By Hung Le   October 9, 2019 | 09:08 pm PT
Vietnam Airlines raises pilots’ salaries to ward off poachers
A Vietnam Airlines pilot inside a glass-cockpit aircraft. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Airlines.
Vietnam Airlines has hiked pilots’ salaries nine months ahead of schedule to prevent other carriers from poaching them.

It has raised the base salaries of pilots flying Boeing 787 and Airbus A350, its long-haul aircraft, by 22 percent, the carrier said. The raise had been scheduled only for June 1, 2020.

Flight instructors and captains are now paid VND116 million ($5,000) per month, up from VND95 million ($4,100), while first officers are paid VND56 million ($2,400), up from VND46 million ($1,980).

But with seniority bonuses, allowances, overtime, per diem, etc. instructors and captains on long-haul flights earn on average VND220 million ($9,480) per month, while first officers earn around VND135 million ($5,800), the airline said.

Budget carriers Vietjet and Jetstar Pacific pay them VND140-240 million ($6,030 - 10,340) and VND100 -180 million ($4,300 - 7,750) respectively, sources told VnExpress.

New entrant Bamboo Airways last year announced it would pay pilots 12-15 percent higher than market rates. Some pilots who had been involved with its recruitment process told VnExpress that first officers were offered VND140 million ($6,030), captains VND230 million ($9,900) and instructors VND280 - 350 million ($12,060 - $15,080).

Low pay, unsatisfactory work conditions and severance policies had caused pilots to quit in droves last year even as the carrier forecast it needed 193 more pilots to reach the 1,293 it would require in 2019.

The requirement will rise to 1,340 in 2020 and 1,570 by 2025, which industry insiders described as challenging propositions given the increasing global shortage of pilots.

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