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Eric Janson
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Re: Emirates

#51 Post by Eric Janson » Tue May 08, 2018 3:31 am

complexintentions wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 5:58 pm

hi Eric,

Fair enough re: culture. What appeals to one is a complete turnoff to another - it's a matter of opinion and taste. I would never have chosen to live in Sri Lanka, for example. I would not dismiss working there for someone else though based on my opinion of the place.

And that's the thing - I don't "recommend" people going to Emirates, or not going to Emirates - or anywhere. For such a massive decision, it has to be the individual's choice entirely. However, I'm regularly approached by people asking for my opinion and actual experiences there, so I try to offer them as completely as possible. Views such as yours re: Dubai do come across as quite one-sided - which isn't to say you aren't entitled to them. To reiterate: layovers somewhere, or the self-reinforcing views of friends there, are just not the same as living there. As you of all people should well know.

And I certainly am no fan of many aspects of EK and Dubai life, I've been pretty damn critical many times. I can't relate to your question as the majority of my pilot friends are the same demographic as me and aren't in the market for such advice. But those who do ask, I look at their whole picture and absolutely consider it for anyone that feels it could benefit them, after informed consideration. Because, as much as there were/are many negatives to my own expat life in Dubai, I can't possibly deny that on the whole it was massively successful and lucrative for me professionally, financially, and personally. Advising someone to throw away an opportunity - yes, it has associated risks and downsides - is not my, or anyone's place.

--------------------------------------------
@Complex

All valid points - no issue with any of the above.

I don't recall telling people not to go to Emirates/Dubai - I do encourage people to do their research and know what they are getting themselves into.

The only thing I've told people not to do is to give up a stable job in their home country to become an Expat. I stand behind that comment.

I agree that layovers are different than living in Dubai - but that doesn't mean I haven't seen or been exposed to things.

- I've done walkarounds at 47C (48C as we started the take-off roll).
- I've been there during Ramadan (multiple years).
- I've almost been involved in car crashes several times on the roads (seen lots of accidents too).
- After arrival in Dubai it started raining and there was a lot of flooding (including my hotel).
- I've burned my hands on the baggage trolleys outside departures.
- I've had guys put the wrong stamp in my passport and had to wait while that got sorted out (not a simple process).
- I've experienced 2 day sandstorms where you are basically stuck inside.

As I was typing this I realised that there is something I like about Dubai after all:-

I sometimes get to watch the Al Fursan Aerobatic team practice in the morning - they put on a very good display.

More reading about the region (site is banned in Dubai btw). Includes coverage of the situation in Yemen.

http://www.middleeasteye.net/
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Re: Emirates

#52 Post by complexintentions » Tue May 08, 2018 11:54 pm

None of the problems you mention are remotely exclusive to Dubai. With perhaps the exception of the actual level of heat... uncomfortable weather, flooding, immigration issues, poor driving, car accidents, and Ramadan can all be found in quite a few other places. I've heard that some of these things still exist even in Canada!! :roll: And sadly, internet blocking and censorship are hardly limited to the UAE. On the rise everywhere, including the "first world".

I mean, if you reverse + with - temperatures, you could be describing Winnipeg. Right down to the flooding part and your hands burning on the baggage trolley.

There are larger issues to consider at EK, like fatigue, inflation, slowed upgrade times, increased bond amount and duration. Believe me, I mention all this and more to those who ask.

But pissing on it because it's hot and sandy?

C'mon.

Anyway, back to watching F15's land in Sapporo.
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Re: Emirates

#53 Post by Mach1 » Wed May 09, 2018 6:31 am

complexintentions wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 11:54 pm
None of the problems you mention are remotely exclusive to Dubai. With perhaps the exception of the actual level of heat... uncomfortable weather, flooding, immigration issues, poor driving, car accidents, and Ramadan can all be found in quite a few other places. I've heard that some of these things still exist even in Canada!! :roll:
Car accidents in Canada? You're a mad man complexintentions!
complexintentions wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 11:54 pm
I mean, if you reverse + with - temperatures, you could be describing Winnipeg. Right down to the flooding part and your hands burning on the baggage trolley.
Thank you for the laugh of the morning. It's funny because it's true.
complexintentions wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 11:54 pm
There are larger issues to consider at EK, like fatigue, inflation, slowed upgrade times, increased bond amount and duration. Believe me, I mention all this and more to those who ask.

But pissing on it because it's hot and sandy?

C'mon.

Anyway, back to watching F15's land in Sapporo.
Those are the issues that would concern me most. For instance, I did not know EK had a bond. I think I am past the bond part of my career.
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Re: Emirates

#54 Post by Eric Janson » Fri May 11, 2018 11:33 pm

Just flew with a former Emirates Pilot.

Emirates is contacting people who left and are asking them to come back.

Of course they have to do the entire selection process all over again. Typical of how things work in the region.

That's how desperate things are getting.
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Re: Emirates

#55 Post by MattK » Sat May 12, 2018 10:07 am

It is such an incredibly complicated answer! Depends on age, experience, family prospects etc.

I spent 13 years in the ME and almost 11 at EK. For me, it was well worth it financially, for my family, life experience, aviation experience etc etc.

BUT - it was a different time. In the end I left for a multitude of reasons but a major one being that I could not hack the schedules any longer. A new guy who has been their for 4 years or less cannot accurately give you an assessment on this aspect, particularly since for a significant time it was fairly easy as an FO compared to what the captains were flying.

Their are good things and bad things about both EK and Dubai and pprune, imo, is VERY accurate in its description. How you react and deal with that 'description' is different for different people.

Dubai itself is a nice city and you can read about the good and bad on pprune. It is what it is. But you can lead a good life their with or without family - though it is getting very expensive.

The most important aspect to 'Dubai' is whether your family will like it. I have seen too many guys chasing big, shiny jets bring their family over without getting them fully on board and it never went well. Your first priority is to them not to your career aspirations. Once that hurdle is passed you can look at the other things.

EK housing has been deteriorating and they have a new complex for pilots. While I quite like the villas EK, as it typically does, dropped the ball on the other aspects of the complex, cramming the houses together and not having any of the other amenities ready (still not).

The pay is very good especially compared to Canada. But they WILL get their pound of flesh. You will work 90 plus hours a month (did 112 last Feb) between ULR, long haul and short haul with lots of nights. It is somewhat fleet dependent but it will average out over time. At first this will seem doable. So when I see guys who have been at EK for a short time dismissing this I simply say - wait and see. Over years it accumulates! Add to that that EK does not give you credit for sim (so two months a year you have that crammed into your sked which reduces those 14 days off someone mentioned), or for vacation so they LOVE to give you 5 VACATION days and still fly you 90 hours (I was smart about this early on and would take large chuncks of time off until EK gradually reduced the max VAC time to 21 days - if you can actually get it). The bidding system has been dessimated and now barely functions as it should so expect to get roughly one or two requests in some months and none in others. They also decided to make swapping incredibly difficult with a series of 'rules' that make it almost impossible to swamp. Since most are in OT a swap is almost never legal!

I wouldn't underestimate the affect of scheduling on your lifestyle. If you are single it may have less influence especially if you can take vacation outside the peak times. Though even if I was single I would like some time at home in the summer. For a pilot with a family it is much more important. With their rotating vacation bid you 'should' get peak leave every second year which means every 2 years you will get vacation time with your kids. You can be sure you will not in the following year. If your kids are young enough you can take them out of school when it works for your vacation sked. As they get older that gets more difficult. But then in my opinion Dubai is great for young kids, much less so once they hit their teens.

I could go on about the negatives surrounding EK but you can get that on pprune - like I said it is all pretty accurate. But the issues are more critical for some than others so don't disregard their complaints!

In the end I can best sum that aspect of EK up by saying it is something like a death by a thousand cuts! It seems changes and degradation of conditions never ends. All of the complaints you see ad up. A perfect example is the recent introduction of customs duties - particularly on alcohol. A perk, if you want to call it that, that was used by most crew members. Many of us shopped while away, especially for foods that you can't get in Dubai, for alcohol and other things. Recently the rules changed but only for EK and only at the main airport. It was rescinded for a while then reinstated. There appears to be no doubt that it was EK initiated but regardless, it is another in a long string of negative changes and while it appears innocuous by itself, taken in the context of the constant string of changes over time it has the crews in an uproar. An outsider would look in and say that's ridiculous. But an outside hasn't lived it.

THAT is why people are leaving! The negative changes never seem to abate and, more importantly, many policies have the explicit aim of 'putting pilot in their place'. Anyone who has dealt with the office will tell you the same. The mantra 'if you don't like it then leave' has always existed and spouted verbally by several differnt VP's at different time. So it is clear to the employees that they are nothing more than labour and while that is true in many parts of the world you have various protections against many of the issues EK pilots are dealing with.

Coming to EK and DUBAI is like walking a very narrow path along a sheer cliff. If you somehow stumble, whether through your own fault or not, you may well go over. In Dubai, if you run afoul of the wrong person, situation or authority you may end up packing up. There are enough cases, just among EK pilots, to be wary. With EK the situation is the same. Wrong day, wrong place and you may end up without a job. Most of us stay on the path but a good number do not and in most cases it is through no real fault of their own.

But the real question is would I recommend EK!!!???

I would say it depends on the person. If you are young, can survive what will likely amount to 5-8 years for an upgrade - for the guys hired today and don't have any better offers that it might be a good move. But if you can go to AC or WJ I think you would be stupid to choose EK. This is one reason why EK is having difficulty recruiting - the other airlines are hiring and seniority is everything!

Which brings up the next issue. If you do go you will need to plan HOW you will leave. While there is a lot of hiring worldwide right now that won't always be the case and there may not be an avenue for you to return home when it suits you. I know/knew quite a few who were in that boat and life REALLY sucks then. Even now there are some guys who would love to leave but can't really afford the pay cut it takes to start back in Canada. The first company that realizes the experience available that can be had for some basic pay increases into manageable levels won't be short pilots.

There are so many variables that go into the decision. But go into with eyes wide open and, like I said, avoid the big shiny jet syndrome and evaluate it objectively.
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Re: Emirates

#56 Post by complexintentions » Sat May 12, 2018 10:34 am

Finally. Someone else who doesn't write a "Dubai sucks" or "Dubai rules" simplistic post. This is very, very good intel - and look at that, it took more than 14o characters to write!

The bottom line is that the job can turn out well for some and a nightmare for others. There is no easy answer to the "would you recommend Emirates to your friends" question.

Sadly, it probably won't change the minds of either those who are deadset against taking a risk and leaving their comfort zone in Canada, or those who are hellbent on joining. But it is absolutely accurate.

Thanks for posting.
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Re: Emirates

#57 Post by confusedalot » Sun May 13, 2018 12:09 am

Out of the game because of age, so no agendas here. Curious about a few of the facts pointed out though, and certainly not judging the validity.

If Emirates has what is considered slow upgrades, (gotta chucke a bit, but that is just me, I recall a time where 10 to 20 years was considered normal for an upgrade at a major airline, and that was into a small narrowbody) I can only assume that the people at the top are not leaving? But the bottom people are? So....what's going on?

It has been stated that they have parked airplanes. An outsider would assume that if the corporation had a bunch of airframes to put into the air, upgrades would be quick, would they not? Which brings me to my secondary query; what exactly are they looking for in a new hire profile if they are having trouble getting recruits? And what are the standards for upgrade?

In sharp contrast to what is occurring at Mapleflot right now, new hires don't really have a whole lot of background except for a token few, and, depending on requirements, can end up straight into 787 or 330 right seats after a total of 2, 3 or 4 years after finishing flying school. Getting a left seat in the smaller aircraft in the fleet appears to be accessible in a mere couple of years, sometimes less. And we are not talking about experienced people, it's all seniority based.

Just curious. Something is not adding up in my brain.
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Re: Emirates

#58 Post by confusedalot » Sun May 13, 2018 12:52 am

Never mind the above post.......Took a look at what Emirates wants for a first officer new hire on their website. Major airlines are looking for significantly less, and hiring significantly less qualified people. No wonder they are having a problem.
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Re: Emirates

#59 Post by complexintentions » Sun May 13, 2018 8:17 pm

The slow upgrades are, as you say, relative to what they were over the last 10-15 years. Due more to the slowing expansion - when you doubled your fleet every year or two upgrades were exceptionally quick. Pilots of all demographics are leaving, including senior ones - it just doesn't have the same impact as slowing fleet growth.

The parked a/c is due to overall lack of bodies, not just captains. Fine to do "quick" upgrades, but then who sits in the right seat if no one's coming?
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Re: Emirates

#60 Post by Eric Janson » Mon May 14, 2018 12:46 am

@MattK

Good post - just a small comment on one part of what you've written.
MattK wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 10:07 am
Which brings up the next issue. If you do go you will need to plan HOW you will leave. While there is a lot of hiring worldwide right now that won't always be the case and there may not be an avenue for you to return home when it suits you. I know/knew quite a few who were in that boat and life REALLY sucks then. Even now there are some guys who would love to leave but can't really afford the pay cut it takes to start back in Canada. The first company that realizes the experience available that can be had for some basic pay increases into manageable levels won't be short pilots.
It makes no sense to start at the bottom again in N America unless you have a lot of years left in your career.

Another alternative is to get an EASA ATPL and transfer your ratings over. Those people who are able to obtain an EU passport or who speak the local language would have an extra advantage.

There are numerous DEC positions available in Europe including jobs that allow commuting and companies that fly to Canada. Much shorter to commute to Canada trans Atlantic vs trans Pacific. Plus you are living in a part of the world with things like a functioning legal system and labour laws. Plenty of nice places to live imho.

Going West out of Dubai may be better than going further East - it comes down to individual preference.
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Re: Emirates

#61 Post by mixturerich » Mon May 14, 2018 10:01 am

Thank you MattK for such a comprehensive, unemotional, and unbiased answer! That’s what I was looking for. For people I know personally, I would say that leaving an Express carrier for EK would be a completely bonkers decision.
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Re: Emirates

#62 Post by complexintentions » Mon May 14, 2018 5:53 pm

Eric Janson wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 12:46 am

Another alternative is to get an EASA ATPL and transfer your ratings over. Those people who are able to obtain an EU passport or who speak the local language would have an extra advantage.

There are numerous DEC positions available in Europe including jobs that allow commuting and companies that fly to Canada. Much shorter to commute to Canada trans Atlantic vs trans Pacific. Plus you are living in a part of the world with things like a functioning legal system and labour laws. Plenty of nice places to live imho.

Going West out of Dubai may be better than going further East - it comes down to individual preference.
Funnily enough, this is what I've done, gotten my EASA license and transitioning to Euroland. But you do tend to make it sound far easier than it is:

- obtaining the EASA is a horrid process, not really feasible for many expats on heavy rosters for the time investment required. Not to mention the expense, albeit less of a factor for a ME expat. But it's an absolutely ridiculous system, really, an illustration of everything that's wrong with the EU.

- either you have an EU passport or you don't, but they don't just give you one because you want it.

- please feel free to list links to these "numerous" DEC jobs in Europe. I know of a couple, but "numerous" is stretching it. Unless you're including all the eastern European ULCC's ordering tons of narrowbodies to pay next to nothing. But widebody DEC's?

- for an even shorter list, please provide one of positions that pay even remotely well. Not expecting mainland China wages, but ones where you could actually save enough to retire in a high-taxation jurisdiction.

Not arguing with your premise overall - I'm doing exactly what you describe. It just seems a bit glib about the process.
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Re: Emirates

#63 Post by confusedalot » Mon May 14, 2018 9:22 pm

Things have certainly changed a lot very recently, but a mere 5 years ago, you had european pilots taking short term contacts in Canada ostensibly because they could not find anything at home. Flew with many of them, they did not paint a rosy picture, they told it like it is, and, although having an EU passport is a minimum requirement, sounds like WHERE your EU passport comes from and WHERE you want to work is a bit of a factor. Lots of selective behind the scenes processes going on it seems.

Don't have an EU passport so getting an EASA licence was pointless. However, being born into a family of european immigrants with extended family in ''the old country'' and having traveled a fair bit, I get what the europeans were telling me. Not as simple as you might think.
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Re: Emirates

#64 Post by Eric Janson » Tue May 15, 2018 12:59 am

complexintentions wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 5:53 pm

Funnily enough, this is what I've done, gotten my EASA license and transitioning to Euroland. But you do tend to make it sound far easier than it is:

- obtaining the EASA is a horrid process, not really feasible for many expats on heavy rosters for the time investment required. Not to mention the expense, albeit less of a factor for a ME expat. But it's an absolutely ridiculous system, really, an illustration of everything that's wrong with the EU.

- either you have an EU passport or you don't, but they don't just give you one because you want it.

- please feel free to list links to these "numerous" DEC jobs in Europe. I know of a couple, but "numerous" is stretching it. Unless you're including all the eastern European ULCC's ordering tons of narrowbodies to pay next to nothing. But widebody DEC's?

- for an even shorter list, please provide one of positions that pay even remotely well. Not expecting mainland China wages, but ones where you could actually save enough to retire in a high-taxation jurisdiction.

Not arguing with your premise overall - I'm doing exactly what you describe. It just seems a bit glib about the process.
@Complex

Hope that things work out for you.

Thanks for providing more info. My post was very general in nature. Not trying to be glib - just pointing out that there are other options besides China for those looking to get out of Emirates.

Up to each individual to decide if this is worth it taking all factors into account.

It is possible to obtain an EU passport/Residency by investing money in a country - this is out of reach of most people. It is possible to apply for citizenship after 5 years of legal residence in the country where I live - in fact a lot of Brits living here are doing that. Difficult but not impossible if your company sponsors you.

You are correct that I didn't specify widebody DEC positions - Norwegian, Eurowings, Air Belgium and HiFly are 4 that I know about. As for Eastern European LCC's - they pay really well if you are TRI/TRE. Plenty of DEC hiring going on - for how much longer is anyone's guess.
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Re: Emirates

#65 Post by mushr00m » Mon May 21, 2018 10:19 am

I'm at EK right now and have been for 10yrs...MattK you nailed it!

@Complex: Where did you convert your ATPL? What do you figure average all in cost in $ and time? PM if you wish but I think others should be informed as well.

Cheers,

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Re: Emirates

#66 Post by complexintentions » Tue May 22, 2018 2:34 am

I just studied the question databases to write the 14 exams, which I wrote in the UK and Malaysia at the CAA exam centre there (think they have one in Dubai too?). I used Bristol and AviationExam, the former is more UK-centric and the latter encompasses all of the EASA member states. I think some of the questions are machine-translated from Hungarian or something. Each of those databases contains about 15,000 questions. Complete nonsense.

You can only do an initial class 1 medical in the UK.

I wanted to put a B777/787 type on the license so I contacted Boeing at LHR/LGW but they said they were too busy doing company training to do individual type checks so I did my LST in the B777-200LR sim at Cockpit4U in Berlin (division of Lufty). Best money I spent, since the Germans absolutely killed it with all of the ridiculous paperwork required. No surprise there I guess.

All in spent around 10K Canadian or about £7000 - not including travel, hotel, meal etc expenses.

Time? I chipped away at it for the better part of a year on days off. Someone not lazy, unlike me, could do it in less. I'm ex-EK but I'm not sure I could have done it while I was there on those rosters.

The process was the worst aviation experience I've had in my career. Including multiple layoffs. Frankly if I'd known quite how stupid the process was I'd have never started it, but once I start something I'm kinda stubborn. But it's so infinitely wasteful of time and money. That's the EU in a nutshell. Corrupt to the core. Everyone preaches standardization and ICAO but possessing several ICAO licenses isn't enough - they can't make any money off that.
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Re: Emirates

#67 Post by Eric Janson » Tue May 22, 2018 8:21 am

Here’s a good tip for those people who hold or who are going to get an EASA Licence.

Once you have the Licence you can transfer it between countries. My understanding is that Ireland is a good option with Germany being the worst. I’m not familiar with the process - I work with colleagues who have done this.

Personally I hold a British passport and fly Portuguese registered aircraft on a Dutch issued EASA ATPl.
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Re: Emirates

#68 Post by complexintentions » Wed May 23, 2018 5:50 am

Which state you are considered licensed in is determined by which country issues you your medical.

I considered trying to do my conversion through the Czech Republic. Before I learned how it all "works", I igured I could write a few exams there while on my frequent visits, and some in the UK. Except, while exams CAN be written in one state for a license issued in another, you have to write all the exams in the same state. Czech - being a much smaller country - has quite limited exam sessions each month, while the UK has multiple sessions at multiple sites. A big factor for someone attempting a conversion while working full-time. And in each country, while the exams themselves are in English, all the administration (booking, payment etc) is in the local language which could also be cumbersome for native English speakers. In the end I went with the UK because it had the best options to fit my circumstances and is highly regarded. EASA licenses are supposed to be equal, and legally are, but to paraphrase Orwell, some are more equal than others...

Just points to consider.
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Re: Emirates

#69 Post by Eric Janson » Wed May 23, 2018 9:17 am

One more thing to consider with a UK Licence:-

Not clear what effect BREXIT will have and whether the UK is still going to be part of EASA.
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Re: Emirates

#70 Post by complexintentions » Mon May 28, 2018 8:52 am

Eric Janson wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 9:17 am
One more thing to consider with a UK Licence:-

Not clear what effect BREXIT will have and whether the UK is still going to be part of EASA.
EASA may be an agency of the EU but the two are by no means synonymous. You do realize there are already EASA members who are not in the EU, right?

There may be specific reasons to pursue an EASA ATPL in another specific member state, but I’d place post-Brexit very low on the list of worries. The CAA UK license was highly regarded long before they joined the EU and I highly doubt it will suddenly stop being so if/when they ever leave.

But if it is a concern, by all means pursue it in another state. Just be sure to not pick one of the several others also not so keen to remain in the triumph of bureaucracy that is the European Union, like Italy, Hungary, etc... :mrgreen:
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Re: Emirates

#71 Post by mushr00m » Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:29 am

Thanks for the info....

Mushr00m...
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