To Be a PilotHome to almost 24 million people, Shanghai is the most populous city in the world. Moreover, it is the only Chinese city ranked amongst the TOP 10 richest cities across the globe. Naturally, Shanghai is a major air transportation hub with its two airports serving around 600 thousand aircraft and 80 million passengers each year. While the demand for air transportation in the region keeps rising, local airlines are intensively seeking for hundreds of new pilots, many of whom come outside of China. Shanghai is undoubtedly a beloved tourist destination for millions of travellers from around the world, what is it like to work and live in the ‘Paris of the East’?

‘Everybody knows that China is truly starving for pilots, especially for the highly experienced ones. Fifteen Chinese and international carriers have their hubs in Shanghai airports, which makes the city one of the main centres for pilots who are potentially looking for a new job. Unfortunately, amongst these pilots there are some who deprive themselves of potential job proposals as they believe that a move to Shanghai would incur a lot of challenges and discomfort. Needless to say, every city has its pros and cons, but being a commercial pilot implies that one is a cosmopolitan, and one could not find a more cosmopolitan location in the East than Shanghai,’ commented Skaiste Knyzaite, the CEO of

One of the main advantages of moving to Shanghai is the cost of living. Though in comparison to the rest of China the city is more expensive, it is still much cheaper than many other world metropolises. If according to a particular contract the employing airline is not obliged to provide a pilot with a hotel or any other paid-for accommodation, than he or she may easily rent one. On average, renting a one bedroom apartment will cost you around USD 450-500 per month. Living in the city centre may be a bit more expensive with the rates for a one bedroom apartment starting from USD 650 per month.

Due to safety concerns and transportation costs, some people may prefer to pay a bit more in order to stay in the city centre, rather than risk living in a more remote area. Fortunately, in Shanghai these concerns are less topical in comparison to London or Paris. The U.S. State Department emphasises that living in Shanghai is relatively safe. Though the risk of encountering certain misdemeanours such as pick pocketing, panhandling or bicycle theft are impossible to entirely avoid in probably any city in the world, Shanghai is known for its exceptionally low levels of violent crime, particularly against foreigners.

Furthermore, Shanghai has one of the most advances transport systems in the world. Its metro alone has 11 lines with almost 240 stations and 420-430 km long tracks. A one direction ticket may cost from USD 0.5-1, depending on the destination. Also, the city has a vast bus network with a single ticket price of approx. USD 0.5 per ride.

Taxis, probably the most convenient means of transportation, are also quite cheap.  A short-haul ride may cost you around USD 2-3 with every additional kilometre to lighten your pocket by as little as USD 0.5.

‘Pilots-expats are highly valued in China due to their experience, knowledge and their Aviation English proficiency. On average, foreign pilots earn 20% more than their Chinese colleagues. Taking into account that aircraft captains receive around USD 10-12 thousand per month, living in Shanghai is something that they can really afford. However, regardless of the relatively lucrative remuneration packages, many pilots who are reluctant about moving to China point to the culture-related issues,’ added Skaiste Knyzaite.

Shanghai has the largest expat community in the mainland of China. According to EF, most of schools in Shanghai start teaching English in the third grade. Furthermore, there are several hundreds of English training centres in the city. Though basic knowledge of Chinese would certainly ease communication, sufficient English language skills would be enough to start one’s living in Shanghai.

Another issue worth mentioning is food. With a variety of dining establishments situated literally on every corner, one may try out the truly authentic flavours of the national cuisine from across the entire China. Eating out at Chinese small restaurants is rather cheap and the bill rarely exceeds USD 4-5. Certainly, Chinese cuisine is quite specific, and not everyone will find it to his or her taste. Luckily, Shanghai offers restaurants featuring the cuisines from all over the world. From an American to a Russian or an Egyptian, every foreigner has a solid chance to find something that would make them feel closer to home.

‘Certainly, any foreigner must master chopsticks before moving to Shanghai. And like in any other city, the first several weeks may prove difficult in terms of the need to adapt to the new cuisine, new traditions and local habits. But pilots who constantly travel and communicate with the representatives of various countries and cultures on a daily basis, like no one else have the ability to adapt to new living conditions. Shanghai is a true Pearl of the Orient, and if you are seeking for new opportunities in both your career and personal life– this is the place to start,’ shared the CEO of

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