More than 40 foreign pilots are now flying with Shenzhen Airlines.
The airline now employs more foreign pilots than other airlines on the Chinese mainland.
Shenzhen Airlines started recruiting foreign pilots in 2003 when it learned that the Brazilian aviation market had surplus pilots. It advertised in Brazilian publications and 61 pilots responded, sending their resumes. Some also started learning Chinese to prepare for an interview.
Shenzhen Airlines sent a six-person team to Brazil to interview candidates from four Brazilian airlines.
"Our company is going to hire as many as 60 foreign pilots. In the near future we will send another team to Brazil to top off the number," said Deng Jiaben, vice general manager of Shenzhen Airlines.
While most of the foreign pilots are from Brazil's largest airline, Varig, some are from the United States, Italy, Russia, Bulgaria, Norway, Australia, Georgia and Singapore.
Mr. Figueiral is one of the Brazilian pilots and has just finished a test in Guangzhou for a Chinese aviation license. He said that before coming to the country he only knew China was a distant country.
"The foreign pilots have helped raise the English proficiency level among staff of Shenzhen Airlines and they have also helped our company work in the way other international airlines work," said Deng.
(Shenzhen Daily September 8, 2004)