Korean Air Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for your interest in Korean Air. Due to the global impact of COVID-19, recruitment is currently suspended. If these positions are of interest to you and you meet the minimum requirements, please register with us to be notified when recruitment resumes. You can also submit your interest to jobs@rishworthaviation.com for our review, so we are ready to work with you as soon as recruitment resumes.  

As an official recruitment agency for Korean Air, providing the largest number of foreign pilots to the airline for over 20 years, Rishworth Aviation offers great terms and conditions for a wide range of Korean Air pilot jobs.

Want to find out more about flying with Korean Air? Rishworth Aviation answers your frequently asked questions here:

What currency am I paid in?

Rishworth Aviation sends payment to you in USD. We can send payments split between different bank accounts anywhere in the world that you require free of bank charges.

Does Korean Air make any payments directly to me?

Korean Air pays a monthly per diem to you directly each month to a bank account set up in Seoul. Per diem rates vary depending on the city you are flying to – currently ranging from the equivalent of approx. US$3 to US$5 per hour and are calculated from arrival to departure.

Is the payment I receive each month before or after tax?

The amount you are paid is after tax has been paid in Korea, based on you being a commuting expatriate pilot. Tax certificates can be provided at your request.  We suggest you seek advice from your tax professional as to your overall tax liabilities.

When does overtime apply?

Over 75 hrs per month for the B748 and B777. Over 65 hrs per month for the A330.  Please note however that it is uncommon for pilots to achieve over time due to the calculation of deadhead hours and double crewing by Korean Air as follows:

  • Dead Head Hours
    Dead-head hours (extra crew hours) will accrue at 50% for flight time and pay purposes. However dead-head hours relating to the Crew Member’s commuting convenience for the days off, vacation, sick-leave, etc as well as returning to duty after such days off, vacation, sick leave, etc shall not be considered for flight time and pay purposes

  • Double Crewing or 3-Pilot Crewing
    The Crew Member shall accrue whilst double or 3-pilot crewing actual flight hours at 100% and extra flight hours (related to the double crew or 3-pilot crewing) at 50% for flight time and pay purposes.

Are there likely to be pay increases during the contract?

Your pay will increase on renewal. During the term of our contract, there are no set pay increases. However, Korean Air is continuously looking into improving the benefits packages. Also, there may be a discretionary flight safety incentive. 

What Insurances are available?

The different types of insurances available to you, and the amount of cover these provide you with will depend on what agencies are able to offer. Rishworth provide the best insurances available due to the large numbers of foreign crews we have on contract throughout the world and so have the scale to be able to access the best insurances in the market. We offer: International Medical Insurance – this covers you when on and off duty, in your home country as well as globally. Income Protection Insurance – this provides you with income if you are unable to work/fly as a result of an accident or an illness.

How does the base in Seoul, my days off, vacation and flights home all work?

The contract is a “commuting” contract. Seoul is your operating base for duty days, and you will “commute” to/from Seoul for monthly days off to/from a nominated “base” on Korean Air’s extensive worldwide network. You will not operate to and from your monthly days off (see * below).

The standard monthly days off is 9 consecutive days,plus up to 3 travel days per month, plus annual leave (vacation) days can be added each month.

You accrue 2 days annual leave per month (24 days per year).  These can be taken monthly, usually together with monthly days off, or you may save up your annual leave days and take up to 7 days annual leave in any one month several times a year.

Example: Most pilots request 11 consecutive (9 days + 2 annual leave days) days off, and are automatically provided with 2 or 3 additional days for travel to get from/to Seoul, depending on where they are flying to/from Seoul.

Whilst your contract will say that the 9 days off each month are made up of 6 consecutive “hard” days off, and 3 “soft” days off that may be adjusted to Korean Air’s flight schedule, in the 20 years that we have been recruiting for the airline, Korean Air have not referred to soft days – in practice all of the days are “hard” days ie: you will get 9 consecutive days off a month.

Back to back (end of one month and start of the next month) monthly days off can be considered by Korean Air only under special circumstances.

Korean Air provide flights on their network (as long as Korean Air fly to that destination 2 times or more per week) to travel to your “base” for your monthly days off.  You will nominate a “base” and the airline will generally expect you to commute to/from that “base” for your monthly days off. However this “base” nomination can be changed. Korean Air will allow you to travel to another location other than your nominated “base” on monthly days off on occasion, and like many airlines may depend of the fleet schedulers!

See www.koreanair.com for more details of their extensive network.

You will be able to submit requests for particular days off, and where possible, Korean Air will accommodate this.  Generally, if you request certain days off a couple of times each year you are likely to get these days off.  However, Korean Air would not always be able to grant requests for certain days off if the requests were made on a regular basis.

* There are occasions once pilots are on contract at Korean Air when some fleets offer pilots the ability to operate to or from monthly days off, with the standard monthly days off adjusted accordingly. This offer is provided by the airline direct so more details can be provided by Korean Air.   

Are there any rosters/schedules available I can have a look at?

Rishworth Aviation can provide you with examples of pilots' recent rosters.

What travel benefits do I get on Korean Air and is there ID Travel provided?

You are provided with travel on the Korean Air network for your monthly days off. Captains also receive FOC tickets (4 round trips a year) for themselves and family and Captains and FOs and families are provided with good ID travel benefits. Ticket benefits are available to you and your family after completion of the simulator training (about 2 1/2 months after you start).

Does Korean Air provide my accommodation?

As Incheon/Seoul is your operating base, hotel accommodation is provided at Grand Hyatt Incheon, Seoul.  This is excellent 5 star accommodation located opposite Incheon airport, with gym, swimming pool, and crew room as well as excellent restaurants and bar.  There are other places to eat and drink nearby, and at the ICN airport terminal, as well as a supermarket.

There are always other Korean Air expatriate crew at the hotel coming and going from duty and days off at any time. So there is a good support network to talk with.
As this is a commuting contract, you will be expected to travel to your “base” (home) for your monthly days off. You will need to check out of the hotel for monthly days off and when on duty layovers but you can arrange to leave luggage in storage at the hotel. During duty layovers you will be provided with a good standard of hotel accommodation- usually at least 4 star.

When applying for Korean Air is the airline flexible on the experience and hour requirements?

Unfortunately at this time Korean Air are unable to be negotiable on their hours, experience, age and qualification requirements for pilots joining the airline.

Will I pass the Korean Air medical if I have had LASIK surgery?  

The Korean Air medical team will probably ask you to provide a doctor’s report regarding the surgery. We have had pilots join Korean Air who have undergone LASIK.

Is there a BMI requirement to pass Korean Air’s Screening medical?  

KAL’s Screening medical will check your overall condition.  There are no BMI limits, but this is a very thorough medical, and it is not unusual for pilots to be required to consult with a specialist at home after the Screening medical for further information to be provided to Korean Air’s Medical Department.

Are there any disqualifying medical conditions?

Some medical histories may preclude you from applying, but please contact us to find out more about this. We can ask Korean Air to first review your history/condition on a no name basis, and if this does not preclude you from applying we can then submit your application.

What is involved at the Screening?

The Screening takes place in Seoul. Korean Air will organise and pay for your return airfare from an airport on their network that is closest to you (tickets on any other airline will not be reimbursed), as well as your accommodation during your time in Seoul.  You will however be required to pay for the ticket taxes on your tickets.  Once you start on contract with Korean Air, Rishworth Aviation will reimburse these ticket taxes to you.

The Screening will consist of a simulator session, medical, psychological test, and an interview. 
These activities take up to 5 days, so travel days are additional. We will provide you with all the information required for preparing for a successful Screening.

How long does the training take?

The initial training will be in Seoul and takes approximately 4 months. 

You will not receive your monthly days off until you have completed the training. However, Korean Air maybe able to accommodate a request to travel home for some days if the training schedule allows.

Will there be an opportunity for me to move to another aircraft at Korean Air? 

Korean Air has provided fleet transitions from time to time for Captains and First Officers. Invitation to participate in these programs is at Korean Air's discretion, and the terms of the transition will be provided at that time. Korean Air are unable to provide command upgrades. 

What is the retirement age?

The joining age is under 60 for Captains and 45 for First Officers.  Your initial contract period will be for 5 years or until you turn 60 (whichever happens sooner). You can continue to renew your contract up to the age of 65, however the terms and payment may differ for pilots over 60 years of age.  If you would like further information about flying at Korean Air past the age of 60, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will send you more detail. 

Please be aware that as with most contracting positions, there are no retirement benefits/superannuation plans provided by Korean Air.

Can I find out more from expatriate pilots already working for Korean Air?

Rishworth Aviation can get you in contact with their pilots who are already working for Korean Air. They may be able to provide you with more information regarding the operations.

Why choose Rishworth Aviation?

Rishworth Aviation has over 30 years experience, dealing with over 40 international and domestic carriers spanning 35 countries.  We have been supplying pilots to Korean Air for over 20 years and with around 500 pilots currently on contract, we are one of the largest dedicated crew leasing businesses in the world, yet we retain the personal service of a small business.  We are the leading crew leasing provider for the Asia Pacific region, with crew on contract in Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, Australasia, the Pacific and Brunei. We also contract crew in Europe, and both Northern and Southern Africa.

You will benefit from our personal and professional service, while receiving the cost savings of our size and experience – comprehensive insurance at reasonable rates, off shore banking flexibility, reliability, and market presence.  We understand the challenges of working in a different country and culture and are here to support you, not only before your contract, but during your entire contract period with Korean Air.

  • Providing pilots to Korean Air since 1996

  • We have the largest number of expatriate pilots on contract at Korean Air

  • Our pilots are some of the longest serving pilots at Korean Air – 12+ years

  • We provide the best insurances available for expatriate pilots

  • Our Screening preparation and information packs means our candidates have the best pass rates at screening

  • On time payment and payments to multiple bank accounts

  • Excellent on going support when on contract