Hiring by Chinese carriers shows air travel poised to soar
Author: CSEBA / SEEbiz / China Daily
15th February 2023
Domestic airlines have started their first large-scale offline recruitment drive since the initial outbreaks of COVID-19, as they look to beef up staff amid an expected sustained recovery of international and regional flights.

Last week, Shanghai-based budget carrier Spring Airlines held its first recruitment event of this year's spring job fair, attracting thousands of applicants. It recruited for six categories of positions — flight attendants, cabin safety staff, trainee maintenance engineers, ground crew members, algorithm engineers and software developers.

Spring Airlines said recruitment demand is expected to grow continuously, with the steady growth in the number of flights. It will hold more recruitment events in Shanghai; Lanzhou, Gansu province; and Jieyang, Guangdong province.

"The latest recruitment event is basically in line with our expectations, and the number of resumes we received is similar with the level seen in 2019, when there was no pandemic. More than 2,000 applicants have applied for the positions of flight attendants and cabin safety staff," said Xiao Fei, assistant general manager of the human resources department of Spring Airlines.

On Jan 8, China resumed quarantine-free cross-border travel after nearly three years. With the nation's easing of entry restrictions, carriers have been ramping up efforts to resume more international flights to meet growing travel demand.

The International Air Transport Association announced last week that the recovery in air travel began in December and continued into full-year 2023. Asia-Pacific airlines posted a 363.3 percent surge in international traffic in 2022 compared to 2021, maintaining the strongest year-on-year growth among regions globally.

"The industry left 2022 in far stronger shape than it entered, as most governments lifted COVID-19 travel restrictions during the year and people took advantage of the restoration of their freedom to travel. This momentum is expected to continue in the New Year," said Willie Walsh, IATA's director-general.

Spring Airlines said in the past three years, domestic carriers held online and offline recruitments, and offline events were mainly held at campuses for graduates in fields related to the civil aviation sector. Due to pandemic control measures, recruitment fairs were mostly held on smaller scales.

"Crew recruitment is the barometer of a carrier's development. After airlines post recruitment information, it is easy to know that companies are starting to make relevant preparations for personnel reserves," Xiao said.

During the weeklong Spring Festival holiday in late January, Spring Airlines transported about 2.7 million passengers, and the volume of flights it operated resumed to 88 percent of the 2019 level. This year, the carrier plans to introduce more aircraft.

In February, Spring Airlines plans to resume more international and regional flights and boost frequencies to some routes. The company hopes to attract more graduates proficient in English to prepare for international flight service, it said.

More airlines have begun to focus on attracting foreign language talent in crew recruitment campaigns. State-owned China Southern Airlines is recruiting flight attendants conversant in English and other languages, and applicants are required to provide related language certificates.

For flight attendants who are skilled in foreign languages, China Southern will provide extra benefits. For instance, the cost of training for new employees is exempted, and they will have more options of choosing work locations, the carrier said.

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