September 07, 2016 08:16
Young Koreans looking for work as airline cabin staff increasingly set their sights on Persian Gulf airlines.
Qatar Airways has hired around 200 Korean flight attendants over the last two years, who now make up the third-largest group of foreign flight attendants at the carrier after Britons and Australians. Emirates and Etihad Airways have also hired around 200 Korean flight attendants between them over the last two years.
The main reason is that the Gulf carriers have hugely boosted flights to Asia and Europe in recent years.
Given the sparseness of their own population and the Islamic restrictions in force in their own countries, the carriers have had to hire mostly foreign crew if they want to run modern airlines.
Stewardesses typically wear a little token veil attached to their hats, but it is hardly full niqab, and the uniforms are figure-hugging. An Etihad Airways staffer said, "Korean staff are efficient and punctual, so they're highly sought after by carriers."
Job satisfaction is high as well due to the good pay and comfortable working conditions. Starting pay for flight attendants at Gulf carriers is W50-60 million a year and workers can stay employed anywhere between six to 16 years depending on performance (US$1=W1,108).
Yoo Yeo-keun at Korea Aviation College said, "Gulf carriers tend to respect the life-work balance more than domestic airlines, and young Koreans who work for them have been very satisfied with their working conditions, including provision of their own living quarters."
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