SA airline pilot mass exodus in 2024?

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SA airline pilot mass exodus in 2024?

Unread post by flightline212 »

Does anyone have any insight to this? Thoughts?
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Re: SA airline pilot mass exodus in 2024?

Unread post by beckers »

Already been happening for the last 2 years. Likely the trend may continue, but I suspect the world industry may start to slow down.
Our younger airline pilots are gaining hours (possibly experience) quickly in SA, making them more marketable internationally. Not much of an industry left in SA IMHO.
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Re: SA airline pilot mass exodus in 2024?

Unread post by Slam and Go »

The industry is like musical chairs, you need a place to sit when the music stops. With that in mind- I left for a widebody job inaccessible to me in South Africa.

Many of my friends have joined the growing South African diaspora in Australia, Middle-East and Asia and I respect their commitment to providing a better future for their families. We will always miss home but it is not just our industry that has become untenable. There are absolutely some great gigs in RSA that are a good fit for many a pilot so I wouldn't say it is a "mass exodus" but rather elastic supply/demand doing what it always has done.
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Re: SA airline pilot mass exodus in 2024?

Unread post by flightline212 »

Thanks Gentlemen, great to get a different perspective because the movement seems excessive at the moment!
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Re: SA airline pilot mass exodus in 2024?

Unread post by IKTAV »

With the demise of SAA there is no longer a “career airline” in South Africa for our young aviators to aspire to.
Airlink, FlySafair and Cemair are great, but only as “stepping stones” to get experience and move on.
Almost no one would consider spending an entire career with any of them.

It’s a great pity their rosters aren’t a little more reasonable and perhaps if they learnt a lesson from RyanAir’s “5 on/4 off” roster they might be able to stem the tide somewhat.
The dearth of experience from South African shores is becoming quite concerning and if I was an airline CEO in SA, I would be very worried.
Last edited by IKTAV on Sun Jan 07, 2024 3:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: SA airline pilot mass exodus in 2024?

Unread post by Chalkie »

IKTAV wrote: Tue Jan 02, 2024 6:27 pm The dearth of experience from South African shores is extremely concerning and if I was an airline CEO in SA, I would be very worried.
Unfortunately Guvmint BBBEE rules Mk 3 says you can't be; so stop fretting. :wink:
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Re: SA airline pilot mass exodus in 2024?

Unread post by southside »

IKTAV wrote: Tue Jan 02, 2024 6:27 pm With the demise of SAA there is no longer a “career airline” for our young aviators to aspire to in South Africa.
Airlink, FlySafair and Cemair are great as “stepping stone” airlines to get experience really fast. But hardly anyone would consider spending a career there.
This is because the glory days have passed, where working for an SOE that pays very high salaries are gone.

Times have changed big time.

No private entity can operate sustainably in this manner.

And the market is dominated by private companies, because the government failed, as they have in all aspects.

Any South African pilot with any self respect should not even consider trying to get into SAA. You will not be paid like the previous guys were, and worse you are robbing from the honest private companies trying their best to keep numbers in the green while the government plunders on.

Becoming a pilot for SAA was like becoming a Protea or a Springbok for your country. The ultimate accomplishment. And held with pride.

To have the honour of saying ‘Springbok’ as your call sign was the best of the best. The ultimate goal and feeling of accomplishment. Now it’s an embarrassment. Everyday when I hear that call sign now, I just think of how government squandered that pride.

Yes highly trained and experienced crew deserve the good salaries, but in a private market it’s just not sustainable. And while it is not the crews fault that the SOE airlines went under, the government screwed that up…they deserved those salaries…it is what it is.

Hence an airline job in SA pays much like any other middle class job.

Gone are the glory days.
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Re: SA airline pilot mass exodus in 2024?

Unread post by flightline212 »

Agreed on all points, thanks Gentlemen! Word on the street is a fleet reduction for Safair and possible salary cap and or reduction on salaries due to the impact of SAA’s low fares and market flooding tactics ? I see other airlines are also reducing frequencies on a lot of routes!
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Re: SA airline pilot mass exodus in 2024?

Unread post by frikie »

I think there is a massive oversupply in the market, and the economic environment will not improve in the near future. Reducing costs sounds like a good idea.
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Re: SA airline pilot mass exodus in 2024?

Unread post by 7675 »

I left SAA in 2020. I cannot imagine ever having a flying job in SA again. It’s not worth my time. Salaries are a joke, as are the attitudes of the airlines. Why fly for these jokers when you can earn 4x the salary elsewhere. The race to the bottom will have consequences. At least SAA of the past stabilised the pilot market.
Last edited by 7675 on Wed Jan 03, 2024 9:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: SA airline pilot mass exodus in 2024?

Unread post by frikie »

7675 wrote: Wed Jan 03, 2024 6:44 am I left SAA in 2020. I cannot imagine ever flying job in SA again. It’s not worth my time. Salaries are a joke, as are the attitudes of the airlines. Why fly for these jokers when you can earn 4x the salary elsewhere. The race to the bottom will have consequences. At least SAA of the past stabilised the pilot market.
Dito, can't agree more.
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Re: SA airline pilot mass exodus in 2024?

Unread post by AOYB »

As was said, the airlines in SA can’t compete with the lifestyle and salary available elsewhere.
The effects are already being noticed, just look at the requirements for airlines. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing, Europe copes with “low hour” pilots, while SA traditionally had you doing turboprop flying for a few years. So maybe the effects will be felt on the contract side first.

As an aside, if I go to my local shopping centre here in the ME, there’s a 99% chance there will be Afrikaans overheard.
Lots of ex Mango, Airlink, Comair and Safair (amongst others) where I am.
And even though it’s not pilots, I did a short hop to Bahrain yesterday and 50% of the controllers from departure to landing spoke with a distinct saffer accent.

My house here is left unlocked, car keys live in the car, I save almost what my net pay was at Mango, and we tons of braais.

So if I was an airline CEO, I’d know there was nothing I could offer that would keep people that want to leave. As long as there was a supply of turboprop guys, no problem. However, if something disrupts that chain, then the effects might be felt.
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Re: SA airline pilot mass exodus in 2024?

Unread post by Nicolaas206 »

Literally all my friends in the airlines back home either have interviews, are in holding pools, or are awaiting their start date abroad. The rest already left. Yes, SA simply can't compete on a global stage and there is finally a lot of movement in the global aviation market.

Same as all the rugby players and other athletes going overseas basically.
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Re: SA airline pilot mass exodus in 2024?

Unread post by IKTAV »

We all know this situation is real. And considering the possible repercussions for the airlines and the supporting industry I was wondering why no one has conducted a survey to understand the problem more clearly.
For some time I’ve been hearing conflicting reasons for the exodus, and perhaps the time is now opportune for a short survey to gauge what is really happening, and why the exodus now seems worse than before.

So here it is.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WQ85J5M


This survey is ONLY meant for ATP pilots who are CURRENTLY employed by any AIRLINE within SOUTH AFRICA.
So please DO NOT participate in this survey unless you are someone from this group.
I know everyone is curious, so I will share the data if there’s enough of it to be reliable.
There are only ten questions which will take two minutes to answer.
The survey only allows for one submission and cannot be retaken.
It is completely anonymous and the name of the airline is not required. There is no other purpose for this survey beyond trying to understand the challenges ahead for aviation, and what might be done to mitigate them.
Last edited by IKTAV on Mon Jan 08, 2024 5:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: SA airline pilot mass exodus in 2024?

Unread post by Burner »

SA is being hit twice as hard as the rest of the world. Lots of folk leaving SA seeking better long term futures, AND the industry isn't what it used to be. Its a heck of a hard job, irregular hours, constant pressure to pass medicals/OPCs/exams etc, and very average pay. There are a lot better jobs that will give you a more stable lifestyle, better paycheck, and the ability to have school holidays off. Air travel is cheaper and more accessible than ever, and ticket prices reflect that... here in Europe everyone wants August off to go on holiday and sip cocktails on the beach. The problem is no one wants to load the bags, man the Xray machines, fly the planes, pour the cocktails, etc.
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