Ed says the pilot shortage in China has changed in the time he’s been there: “It seems that the large, state-owned airlines are catching up. The biggest shortage, right now, is the startups and low-cost carriers that don’t have the cadet pipeline and training system in place.” To attract and retain expat pilots, many of these airlines now offer “rotation contracts,” which allow one to commute from their home country. The most desirable option, in which one works for one month followed by a month off, with airline tickets each way covered by the employer, “is something that exists, but it’s hard to find.” More common is a six-weeks-on, three-weeks-off schedule, or two months on, one month off. These rotation contracts typically pay $12,000 to $16,000 per month for both narrow-body airline and corporate operators, Ed says, compared to $16,000 to $26,000 per month for full-time pilots. Another change is that many airlines are now choosing to contract directly with crew instead of using an employment agency as an intermediary. “To be honest, agencies don’t always help,” Ed says, noting that he no longer uses one. “They don’t have control over many aspects of the contract and HR-type stuff, and often refer you to the airline or operator directly for questions once you are hired.” Before contracting with an airline or going through an agency, Ed suggests finding other pilots who have real-world experience with that airline or agency and getting a report on their experience.