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Home > Job Opportunities > What are the chances of me being an Asian airline pilot?
What are the chances of me being an Asian airline pilot?
Professional Pilots - Job Opportunities
Written by Capt Lim   
Wednesday, 12 October 2005 10:05

Dear Captain Lim,

I am an Embry-Riddle student and a flight instructor in Florida. I am currently in my second year of University and was just considering the future of my pilot career. I am originally from Texas but of Filipino descent.

My question is, what are the chances of me becoming a pilot for an Asian carrier? What do you recommend that I should do before pursuing a career as a pilot in Asia?

Thank You


Hi Eugene,

I would assume that you will finally graduate from the Embry-Riddle University with a FAA ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) Certificate. What are your chances of becoming an airline pilot for an Asian carrier? My answer is - very slim to practically nil. You see, your US FAA ATP (sad to say :-( ) is not equivalent to the UK JAR or European JAA ATPL. Yes, most Asian carriers follow the UK or JAA ATPL, but some Gulf countries do recognize your FAA ATP.

What can you do? Well, you can convert your FAA ATP to a JAA ATPL. To do so, you would need to take 14 ground school subjects (not as easy as the FAA exams), followed by a CPL skills test conversion, the IR conversion course of 15 hours, ending with an Instrument Rating skills test and finally, the MCC (multi-crew course). The nearest place that you can do this conversion is in Canada - across the Northern border.

This detailed thread from the Google Answers
here has more on this topic.

To upgrade an ICAO CPL to a JAA CPL

The JAA ATPL hours required are:

100 hrs P1 20 hrs cross-country ? to include a route of at least 300 nm with two full stop landings at aerodromes other than that of departure. 10 hrs instrument training ? 5 hrs may be on ground, 5 hours at night comprising at least 3 hours of dual instruction, including at least 1 hour of cross-country navigation, and 5 solo take-offs and 5 full-stop landings. Total hours required for issue of license = 200

You must have achieved the required 200 hours flight time for the issue of a JAA CPL. You will get about 10 to 20 hrs doing the upgrade, so need to start with about 180 minimum.

You will then need to study for and pass all the ground exams, by following an approved JAA course ? probably a standard 650 hours course. This can be done by distance learning or full time.

Next is a CPL skills check. It is not a formal course, just sufficient training to enable you to pass the JAA CPL skills test. This may be 2/3 hours or "if you can*t fly" a lot longer.

Next will be a twin type rating - again it may be a quick check if you gained one previously, or a 6 hour course if starting from scratch. If you are not a UK citizen you have to prove you can speak English! This is done by taking the FRTOL (RT license).

Next you will need a minimum 15 hour IR upgrade course, again this may be longer if your IR skills are not up to scratch. Finally you round it all off with the Multi-Crew Course.

The hours required for a full JAA ATPL are:

Total Time 1500 hrs, to include: 500hrs pilot in a Multi-crew aircraft. 250 Hrs P1 (or 100 P1C and 150 P1u/s). 200 Hrs cross country. 75 hrs Instrument flight. 100 hrs Night

This thread more accurately explains the processes one must take to convert their FAA ATP to a JAA ATPL. There are other options to convert your ATP certificate that may not be applicable to you.

Once you have converted your FAA ATP to the ICAO ATPL (JAR/JAA), your chances of pursuing a career with any Asian carriers are better. It is quite a tedious, tough and expensive process.

Wish you all the best!


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Comments (3)

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Dear Captain Lim

I am Commercial Pilot a flight instructor. With JAA License. Currently, I´m looking for a flight instructor job in Asia but I´m lost because I don´t know what is the situation in Asia.

I would like, that you tell me about this situation. Job opportunities, what kind flight school can I send my cv...


Valentin , 17 Sep, 2009
Can i be a airline pilot without a degree in college?

i am 19 yrs old and a flight instructor in a school in the philippines, i wonder if i can be an airline pilot even if i dont have a bachelor's degree, i really need your help capt, thanks godbless. i hope i can see you sometime. more power
jake , 18 Mar, 2010
job opportunities for pilots around the year 2011 and 2012
Hi captain. I am a student who has a diploma in mechatronics. I have been wondering, is there any employment opportunities for pilots in the year of 2011 and 2012? Is it worth of taking rm250k MARA loan? I'm just afraid that i wont be able to repay the loan if i dont get any jobs from the airlines. I was planning to enter the flight school next year. Which pilot school should go to, MFA or HM Aerospace? I hope you can help me, sir. Thank you.
Sarah , 08 Sep, 2010

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