Guess how much pilots make in Vietnam: Enough to keep them flying

By VnExpress   January 23, 2017 | 11:00 am PT
A Vietnam Airlines pilot now earns $5,100 a month after many of them threatened to quit.

National carrier Vietnam Airlines has announced a series of pay rises that will see its pilots earn VND115.3 million ($5,100) a month.

A pilot's salary has been raised by 8.5 percent from 2015 while flight attendants now earn VND25.5 million ($1,130) a month, a 13 percent increase.

Managers also enjoyed income bumps, and engineers now earn at least VND17.4 million ($771) a month. Vietnamese workers earned an average of $2,200 in 2016, according to the General Statistics Office.

Vietnam Airlines said the new salaries are around 75 percent of the average regional income, putting it among the top paying airlines in Southeast Asia.

The carrier raised wages twice last year after the transport ministry warned that a large number of highly trained employees, including pilots, air traffic controllers and aircraft maintenance workers, wanted to jump ship.

At that time, each of its pilots earned around VND80 million ($3,500) a month, while foreign pilots made $8,000-13,000.

Vietnam Airlines explained that it did not have to pay to train foreign pilots, a cost of around VND2.5 billion ($117,000). But some Vietnamese pilots said they also earned much less than local colleagues at other airlines.

The carrier reportedly raised salaries by 15-25 percent that year.

A new financial report from the company, which is 86 percent owned by the government, showed it earned VND59.1 trillion ($2.6 billion) in 2016. Its pre-tax profit climbed 5.6 times from 2015 to nearly VND1.6 trillion ($71 million).

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