Moving abroad

Dear Pilots,

What is your say on getting your PPL, CPL, MEIR and then moving to a foreign airline and starting as a junior second officer vs. going the traditional path of regional airlines? Would it be easy to move back after some years back to a major in the USA with thousands of flying hours with big planes in large fleets overseas?

Please advise.

Thank You!


Many of the foreign airlines want significant flight time before they hire a pilot and those that don’t usually are only hiring for second officer positions, which are not well regarded and will do nothing to advance your career in the US. Now if you are able to become a captain overseas, that of course is quality flight time. I know a few people who have gone this route, but it generally took them longer to get to the US majors than if they had just gone to the regional airlines.



Second officers are basically cruise pilots, don’t get takeoffs and landings and their l therefore the time built there has little to no value. If your goal is to fly for one of those foreign carriers then by all means but the Regionals pilots here will beat you to a US Major by years.


Spot on what Adam and Chris said; I had always heard that this was the case, but hadn’t actually met anyone who was affected by it until recently. As a real world example, we recently had a recruiter from one of the Regionals attend our location for a recruitment luncheon.

He told the group how he started out as a First Officer for a South American based airline, first starting on an A320, then moving on to the 787 Dreamliner. This was with much less training time/hours and for less pay than FO’s at US Regionals need and are making.

Fast forward to a couple years ago when he came back to the US and wanted to move up the chain, barely any of his time counted towards part 121 requirements. He actually had to go back and do a bunch of time building in a Cessna 172 before any regional would even pick him up as an FO…

Can you imagine going from a 787 back to a 172 after spending all that time, money, and effort!?


If it takes longer and second officer position does not count as quality flight time, I might as well go the traditional route of flying for a regional and then onto the majors.

Thank You for the advice.


I did not realize that second officer positions do not count as valuable flight time. I would much rather stick to the traditional regional path.

Thank You!


That would be a huge waste of time and resources going from a Dreamliner back to a 172 to build flight time. I would much rather stick to the traditional path of flying for a regional and then on to the majors and it would probably be quicker.

Thank You!

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