Pilot Nationality

Hey Y`all

Quick question:

Do Pilots have to be of the airlines nationality in order to fly for them?
i.e Does Singapore Airlines only permit Singaporeans to fly for them? Likewise with the other airlines.

Thanks.

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Obviously it’s dependant on the airline, but I highly doubt it for the majority of airlines, for example, many of the UAE airlines e.g. Emirates hire out of the UK or Europe due to the lack of potential candidates there.
I would suggest google for more specific airline requirements.

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So, you’re saying that for the majority, pilot nationality would be irrelevant?


This should answer your question :).


This guy flew for American on the Embraer regionals, but was offered a job in China as a captain (I believe) and a much better pay.

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Language is much more important than nationality to be honest. Some airlines require their crews to speak some real hard languages (AF, KLM if I remember good, SAS…).

However, most airline cadet programs do require the applicant to be the a native or at least to have the nationality of the country.

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Emirates pilots are 90% European/American 9%Arab and 1% Indian/Asian. They do have Indian pilots but it’s a very small number. Why because I had a Indian Captain when I had a flight to India.

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Thanks for the help!

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Thanks everyone! appreciate all the answers ;)

For airlines as Lufthansa, KLM, AF and SAS, you’ll have to speak the language of the airlines origin country (German,Dutch,French,Danish/Swedish/Norweigan)

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Well, that’s not going to be happening anytime soon, lol…Thanks for the info!

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Nah, I wouldn’t say there’s any restriction on nationality when piloting. As long as you’re properly qualified, nothing should stop you from applying/piloting any airline’s aircraft.

For example - a lot of the Norwegian flight crew are Thai I believe.

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I think most airlines in us US is willing to hire any nationality. You just need proof of permission to work in the us by having a work visa, etc.

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I believe Singapore Airlines also recruits other pilots from other countries


One of the examples is Captain Foong Chee Kong which was the captain of SQ006. He is a Malaysian at that time


But like stated above, I think it’s based to the airline itself to recruit other pilots from different nationalities. I believe Cathay Pacific also recruits Australian and UK-born pilots too 😉

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Yeah the majority of times I’ve flown Cathay, I’ve had an Australian captain but that was during the HongKong to Melbourne flight vice versa. When I was flying Cathay from HongKong to Taipei, I had an Asian background pilot. Maybe they employ their Pilot with the route? I have no idea tbh just a weird theory 😂

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Simple answer, no, nationality is ‘supposed’ to be irrelevant. Language skills are essential and some carriers will demand that you also speak the local language.

Often though ‘local’ flight crew have preferential treatment when it comes to rostering, sim checks, advancement, training opportunities etc. So just be aware of that.

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Yeah but to add on to that, the only thing you need is proof to work in that country you desire to fly in;)

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I think you mean a ‘right’ to work in that country. From my experience relatively easy unless you want to work in the USA.

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I have a friend who is a pilot for Singapore airlines A350, he is originally from Argentina. Fully Argentinean.
Singapore airlines allows him to fly for them, they give him some benefits although I have been told by him that they benefit more the locals.
Cathay Pacific for example is now only accepting local pilots to fly for them no more international.
Most airlines are still accepting though which is good to hear, A wide range of nationalities as pilots I good to have 😀👌🏻👍

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Yeah lol that’s what I meant.

Though I think getting a work visa is relatively easy, it is just one consuming. If your a student and wanting to come to the US, it is easier. My parents are Chinese citizens and visa to the US relatively easy 😂😂😉😄

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I’m just curious about what the situation on this topic would be 6 years later. I still have 2 years of school left, then uni…

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