The Government has approved for the Vietnam Airlines Corporation (Vietnam Airlines) to set up an additional salary fund to increase the salary of Vietnamese pilots.

This increase is intended to bring the salary of Vietnamese pilots closer to that of foreign pilots.

Currently, the salary of Vietnamese pilots is less than half that of foreign colleagues.

The additional salary fund will be set up annually and must not exceed the difference between the salary funds paid for Vietnamese and foreign pilots.

The financial source to set up the additional salary fund will depend on the financial capacity of Vietnam Airlines to fulfill the planned profit target.

The payment of the additional salary for Vietnamese pilots will be implemented from January 1, 2023.

Vietnam Airlines said that that the average salary of Vietnamese pilots at the corporation is only 43-48 per cent of the average salary paid for foreign pilots.

Since 2020, Vietnam Airlines pays a foreign pilot VNĐ2.5 billion (US$100,000) a year higher than that for a Vietnamese pilot.

Specifically, in 2018-19, Vietnamese pilots received a salary of VNĐ124-135 million  ($5,200-5,600) per person per month, while foreign pilots were paid VNĐ249-281 million ($10,275-11,569) per person per month.

In 2020, this figure was VNĐ85 million ($3,500) compared to VNĐ145 million ($6,000), respectively.

This difference is because Vietnamese pilots are contracted to work and are employees of the airline so their salaries are included in the company’s salary fund that is built according to general regulations, without any specificity.

Meanwhile, foreign pilots are hired by the company and their salaries are from a different fund.

Due to low wages, many Vietnamese pilots have quit their jobs.

Since 2018, there have been 154 Vietnamese pilots have transferred to other airlines. In the first three months of this year alone, eight Vietnamese pilots left the airline.

With the high growth rate of other Vietnamese airlines, in the next three years, Vietnam Airlines may lose an additional 120-240 Vietnamese pilots a year.

To make Vietnamese pilots' salaries equal to 80 per cent of foreign counterparts, this year the airline has to add VNĐ510 billion ($21 million) to salaries. If the rate increases to 90 per cent, the airline will add VNĐ713 billion ($29.3 million).

In return, the airline retains Vietnamese pilots and saves VNĐ300-600 billion ($12.3-24.6 million) per year from hiring foreign pilots.

Currently, Vietnam Airlines employs 780 Vietnamese pilots and 144 foreign pilots. — VNS