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Home > Licenses & Ratings > Is there any advantage of holding FAA licenses in Asia?
Is there any advantage of holding FAA licenses in Asia?
Professional Pilots - Licenses & Ratings
Written by Capt Lim   
Sunday, 25 September 2011 08:57

Converting FAA to JAA Licenses

Hi, Captain Lim:

I really enjoy reading all kinds of postings on this website and I would like to thank you for sharing your opinions knowledge from pilot’s point of view for those who are seeking career opportunities in sky like me.

I just posted here on your website this time to ask you a question if there is any advantage of holding FAA licenses in Asia if those license-holders would like to work their ways up to commercial airlines. Let me apologize if you have been asked the same question before and I failed to find that out on the website.

My name is Kohei and I am Japanese citizen, however, I am currently studying Aviation in the United States.

As I get my degree at the university that I am attending now, I will have approximately:

250 total flight hours
60 hours of instrument
130 of PIC time
40 hours of multi-engine flight time

Like a lot of people say on the Internet, I truly understand that most major airlines want candidates who have a citizenship of the country at which the airlines have their bases.

However, I just wondered if there is any way to be hired as a pilot by airlines in Asia.

Some Japanese airlines also have cadet pilot programs. However, major airlines in Japan do not like candidates who have already had licenses that are issued in other countries because they want candidates to learn how to fly and learn skills that are based on the company's training materials and systems, and, probably, those airlines would like to have candidates who are potentially talented to fly airplanes, not those who know how to fly airplanes because they have been trained before.

Up to now, applying to airlines in Japan was only my option. However, I also would like to broaden my horizon over in Asian countries to seek a pilot career if there is any possibility that I would be hired as a pilot or a trainee to become a pilot.

So my question is how having commercial pilot license with multi engine and Instrument rating would affect applying for pilot jobs in Asia. Also, is it completely out of question to send an application to airlines even though I know I do not meet candidate’s requirement in terms of "citizenship" or "having right to work in a particular country"?

I would be really appreciating if you could give me advice what Captain Lim think.

Thank you for taking time to read.

I hope to hear from you.


Hi Kohei,

FAA Licenses are generally valid in the USA and do have restrictions placed on them as far as the ICAO ATPL is concerned. So your FAA license will have to be converted to an ICAO/JAA ATPL first if you wish to join an Asian airline.

Yes, most Asian countries would prefer to have their own citizens in their national airlines, probably with the exception of Cathay Pacific now. However, if you have previous flying experiences and valid type rating and ICAO/JAA ATPL, many airlines would welcome you provided the vacancies are advertised and you are selected. You would generally fall into the ‘expatriate’ category.

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, the IR conversion course of 15 hours, ending with an Instrument Rating skills test and finally, the MCC (multi-crew course).

Please read more on this here

I wish you the bestalt

PS. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my new Twitter at @CaptKHLim

ATPL Student Pilot Life


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