World joins Chi­nese car­ri­ers’ cabin crews

Sat­u­ra­tion of do­mes­tic mar­ket spawns global routes that at­tract for­eign tal­ents

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - ByWANGWEN wang­wen@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Late Novem­ber, about 50 Ital­ian young men and women ap­peared for in­ter­views in Rome for cabin crew jobs with China East­ern Air­lines Corp Ltd. Only half of them will likely re­ceive job of­fers. Yet, ev­ery­one was hop­ing for the best.

“China is the fu­ture,” said Veron­ica Goslino, a fe­male ap­pli­cant from Rome, who was se­lected in the first round.

The Ital­ian flight at­ten­dants will work on the car­rier’s Shang­hai-Rome route af­ter some train­ing in early 2016.

It is the first time that China East­ern re­cruited in Italy, but re­cruit­ment of for­eign crews is be­com­ing com­mon for Chi­nese air­lines that op­er­ate in­ter­na­tional flights.

The prac­tice be­gan in late 1990s. Hir­ing then was still done in China. Now, due to huge de­mand for such staff, Chi­nese car­ri­ers are re­cruit­ing over­seas.

For in­stance, China East­ern hired some of its crew mem­bers this year in Ja­pan, South Korea, France, Ger­many and Italy. It plans to re­cruit in Aus­tralia and Spain in the fu­ture, said Li­uKun­qiang, head of the car­rier’s public­ity depart­ment.

“We ex­pect to bring dif­fer­ent faces to our flights through in­ter­na­tional re­cruit­ment,” saidWei Bo, deputy di­rec­tor of China East­ern’s se­cu­rity depart­ment, who han­dled the re­cruit­ment in Italy. cus­tom­ized con­tracts to their for­eign cabin crews, as per the lat­ter’s na­tion­al­ity and la­bor laws thereof, said Shang Zhao, man­ager of the in-flight ser­vice depart­ment of Hainan Air­lines.

The car­rier lays stress on punc­tu­al­ity and qual­ity ser­vice, Shang said. “We need to find a bal­ance to let them understand the com­pany’s reg­u­la­tions and at the same time, we don’t in­ter­fere with their free­dom.”

For­eign flight at­ten­dants’ com­pen­sa­tion is higher than that of their Chi­nese col­leagues as the for­mer do not re­ceive perks like lo­cal in­sur­ance and hous­ing al­lowance, Shang said.

The car­rier also has a spe­cial team to man­age its for­eign flight at­ten­dants.

The in­creas­ing re­cruit­ment of for­eign flight at­ten­dants in­di­cates Chi­nese air­lines’ fast ex­pan­sion into in­ter­na­tional mar­kets.

Sta­tis­tics from the Civil Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion of China showed that Chi­nese air­lines added 84 new in­ter­na­tional routes in the first half of this year, up 35 per­cent year-onyear. The do­mes­tic air mar­ket is sat­u­rated, so the car­ri­ers are in­vest­ing more in over­seas mar­kets.

The fast-de­vel­op­ing high­speed train net­work in China also drove air­lines to in­tro­duce longer routes and even in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal routes, said Li Xiao­jin, a pro­fes­sor at the Civil Avi­a­tion Univer­sity of China in Tian­jin. “More mar­ket po­ten­tial is on in­ter­na­tional routes for Chi­nese car­ri­ers.”

China’s grow­ing out­bound tourism has also en­cour­aged Chi­nese air­lines to of­fer in­ter­na­tional ser­vices. In fact, Chi­nese air­lines over­took their United States ri­vals for the first time in the num­ber of flights across Pa­cific this sum­mer.

Chi­nese res­i­dents’ over­seas vis­its will likely reach 120 mil­lion trips this year, up 16 per­cent year-on-year, ac­cord­ing to the China Tourism Acad­emy.

Since Chi­nese car­ri­ers alone can­not meet such de­mand, even for­eign air­lines are reach­ing out to Chi­nese trav­el­ers and ex­plor­ing the sec­ondtier mar­ket in China.

And, in a re­ver­sal of sorts, for­eign air­lines are hir­ing Chi­nese can­di­dates as cabin crew to serve the in­creas­ing num­ber of Chi­nese fliers among their pa­trons.

For in­stance, out of 2,500 Chi­nese ap­pli­cants, Bri­tish Air­ways Plc hired 65 of them in China as cabin crew on Dec 1. They will work on Bri­tish Air­ways’ cabin crew bases in Beijing and Shang­hai, which were opened two months ago.

They will un­dergo eightweek train­ing in Lon­don and sub­se­quently work on the car­rier’s Beijing, Shang­hai and Chengdu routes with the Lon­don-based cabin crews from June 2016.

“We are look­ing for ap­pli­cants who have a pas­sion for de­liv­er­ing ex­cel­lent ser­vice, who will understand and an­tic­i­pate the needs of our Chi­nese cus­tomers,” said Jac­ques Hi­jlkema, head of in-flight cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence at Bri­tish Air­ways.

He said the stan­dard of the Chi­nese can­di­dates was very high. All theBAflights fromChina will have at least two Chi­nese cre­won­board in fu­ture.

BA op­er­ates daily flights from Beijing and Shang­hai, and five flights a week from Chengdu, to Lon­don.

More mar­ket po­ten­tial is on in­ter­na­tional routes for Chi­nese car­ri­ers.”

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Flight at­ten­dants of dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties with China Southern Air­lines pose for a group photo in front of the Sydney Opera House, a fa­mous land­mark in Aus­tralia.

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