Real Answers from Real Pilots

Can you join a major carrier if your flying experience is from another country

I am an airline pilot in India for 12 years now with around 7000 hours of which 3000 are as PIC on the 737 NG. I have a FAA CPL and a FAA 737 type rating. I do not have a FAA ATP. I am presently employed and current.

I may have to consider immigrating to the US because my fiancé is a US citizen and has her career there.

I wanted to know if any one could give me an insight on how I may have to restart my career if I do move there, which would be at the very least 2 years from now.

I do understand I have to get my FAA ATP. But apart from that what else should I expect. Would I have to start from scratch from a regional or as a first officer in a major airline. How would the climb up the seniority ladder be. Will my hours play any significant role in career progression.

All suggestions and opinions are appreciated.

Thanks
Vish

Vish,

First and foremost to fly for any US carrier you need to either be a US citizen or gain permanent resident status. Shouldn’t be a problem if you get married but it will take time and again you can’t get hired without it.

Since you have an FAA CPL you could easily get hired at a Regional and getting your ATP would be part of your newhire training. If you want to go straight to a Major you’d need to complete the ATP-CTP course and then get your ATP as that’s a requirement for all the US Majors. You don’t mention your education? If you don’t have the equivalent of a 4yr college degree the Majors won’t hire you. If you do you need to get that verified.

Even with both there’s no guarantee you’ll get hired by a US Major and they may want to see some Regional flying in the US first. I’d contact the airline(s) you’re interested in and ask before you invest the money in the ATP-CTP training. Finally all US airlines are seniority based and whether it be at a Regional or a Major you will start as a Jr FO and have to work your way up from the bottom. While your experience may? allow you to go straight to a Major, it will have no bearing beyond that.

Adam

Vish,

I strongly suspect that you will need to fly for the regionals for a few years before making the jump to the majors. The US airlines will want to see US experience. That being said, your experience in the 737 is great and will hopefully shorten your time at the regionals.

You will need to become a US citizen or permanent legal resident to fly in the US.

Chris

Appreciate your inputs. Starting from the bottom after 15 years will be quite frustrating. Hopefully I don’t have to move. But if I do have to and I do not have a 4 year degree which would mean I would have to do that on the side too. I read on a few posts that it is possible to do online courses from a reputable and accepted university. I assume that is accurate ?

Any opinions on what the corporate aviation world’s view on my experience will be . All my experience is international flying and I have done flight training in the Bay Area and have also taken delivery flights from Boeing back to India. I know singularly all these won’t matter but can that coupled with my experience help in corporate side?

And yes I understand the requirement of being legally allowed to reside and work there.

Thanks
Vish

Vish,

Corporate may look at your time and experience differently but know that the top jobs will still require a degree and an FAA ATP. It’s a matter of searching but the high level jobs are still very competitive.

Adam

Vish,
From the part 135 side, you may find a bit more flexibility on their requirements depending on where you look. But no matter what, you must have an FAA ATP. That’s your first step. A degree will help you get in to anywhere legit to start making decent money. Obviously you could take a job that requires just a commercial cert and no degree but I don’t think that’s what you’re looking for for long lasting career satisfaction or financial compensation.

-Hannah

Vish,

I think you will still have some entry barriers to flying on the corporate side. The corporate operators will appreciate your experience in India, but it is very different from flying in the US. Either way, you will need to work your way up through the ranks.

Chris

Thank you for all the advice. I will definitely get the FAA CTP on the 737 before even trying for a job. I guess I will have to figure out the college degree part of it.

I appreciate all of you taking the time to reply back.

Vish