According to a recruiting company that recruits pilots from all around the world for Chinese airlines, the monthly salary for pilots in China is between $17,000-25,000, more than quadruple than in Russia. Additionally, the pilots fly around 80 hours per month in China, while in Russia they fly around 90 hours.
Sergei (not his real name), a pilot from Russia who is working for a Chinese airline, said there are many impressively-large airports in China, and pilots are subject to a strict physical exam. Russian pilots are also on good terms with their counterparts, so the work environment is friendly.
American pilot Jeff Graham said he flew 80-100 hours per month in the States, but in China he flies about 50 hours a month, and can get triple the salary. Graham started working for an airline in Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong province, in 2015.
Foreign pilots have to pass strict flight tests before coming to China, and only the best of the best can work for Chinese airlines. The current number of foreign pilots flying domestic flights in China is not large, according to the recruiting company.
There are 81 Russian pilots working in China’s airline industry. Over the next 20 years,China will need 4-5,000 airline pilots each year, according to aviation experts. As of end-2016, the number of foreign pilots with valid licenses issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China reached 2,628.