Monarch collapse could bring British pilots to China


The collapse of British low-cost airline Monarch leaves a number of highly trained pilots looking for work. Photo credit - Monarch


British budget airline Monarch went out of business this week - many of their former pilots may be heading to China.


Monarch had been a familiar sight in the skies of Britain for nearly 40 years, first as a charter airline and more recently as a low-cost scheduled carrier.

The company employed hundreds of pilots who are now looking for work.

In the UK, several newspapers have suggested that they should be hired by Irish budget carrier Ryanair, who have recently had to cancel thousands of flights due to an embarrassing shortage of flight crew.

However, the situation isn't as simple as it seems, and it looks likely that many former Monarch pilots could now be heading for China.

There are a number of reasons for that conclusion. Firstly, Monarch pilots flew Airbus A320 series aircraft, which are also flown by many carriers around the world including China Eastern, Cathay Pacific, China Southern and Hainan in China. Notably, they are not flown by Ryanair. 

Monarch's pilots would have to undergo extensive retraining to fly another type of aircraft, but their are plenty of Airbus A320 opportunities for them in China.

Secondly, Monarch was seen to be a good employer with attractive terms and conditions of employment. There are now very few European Airlines with a similar reputation amongst flight deck crew, and these are expected to be inundated with applications.

In China, the terms and conditions for pilot employment are widely regarded as being amongst the best in the world. Many European pilots based in China enjoy the chance to fly modern aircraft to efficient airports, whilst also earning a good salary.

So next time you take a flight in China, take a look through the cockpit glass when you're boarding. You might just see a former Monarch pilot in there!

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