✈FAQ for Non-Japanese Pilots
What are the minimum requirements if I want to fly for a Japanese airline ?
You need to have the following licenses and experience:
a) Valid Airline Transport Pilot License
b) Valid IACO (International Civil Aviation Organization) Level 4 English or more
c) Class 1 medical required by Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (or equivalent health conditions)
d) Valid license for Aeronautical Radio Operator
e) Professional piloting experience which meets the market needs; each airline has its specific requirement which you need to be aware of before placing your candidacy.
I heard that Japanese medical requirement by JCAB is rather of high standard. Is it true ?
Japanese medical standard approved by JCAB may be stricter than certain other countries. If you have been serving in other countries with legitimate medical of the place, it does not always mean that your medical conditions meet that of JCAB requirements. You may also be surprised of the complex check menu which is provided in Japan such as blood, urine tests, hearing tests, eye/ eyesight examinations, electrocardiography, brain scan, chest x-ray, etc. For instance if you had an eye laser surgery and you have good enough eyesight to fly (and you have flown since the surgery without problem), you still have a chance to be disapproved under JCAB medical check.
There only are a very limited number of JCAB-approved doctors outside of Japan, but if you are accessible to their offices in your country, you may want to consider consulting with them before coming to Japan. If you do not have such opportunity, what you can do at least is to report any minor past illness to SOLAP before official application, so that they can check with the airline or aviation authority whether your health condition is in above the bottom line.
Where does the screening for job take place ?
It is totally depending upon each airline; some of the airlines hold their screening sessions only in Japan, but others may take in/ outside of Japan. To find out the screening schedule as well as the location, you may coordinate with SOLAP.
What is the salary range that I can expect from working in Japan ?
It is also varying from company to company. You are advised to well verify with SOLAP not only about salary condition but fringe benefits, commuting (acceptable or not), having family over (acceptable or not), type of employment and so on. Especially because many of the Japanese airlines require minimum of three-year contract, we would suggest you to be well informed of working conditions and not to take your decision lightly.
How can I prepare my visa ?
Once you received the official job offer from the airline and you duly accept it, this airline will become your sponsoring company for your visa. Together with the airline, you can either start your visa application procedure before your departure to Japan through the Japanese Embassy/ Council of your country, or you can do the whole procedure after you landed in Japan. In either way, you are to first obtain “Certificate of Eligibility” which gives you the right to apply for visa.
Is there anything else I would better take into account ?
Working in a new country can be an exciting experience at the same time can become stressful if you are not familiar with the environment, not only for yourself but also for you family. It is very important that you have your family’s full consensus and understanding in advance; the training course that you are provided with after joining the airline (even if you are well qualified captain) lasts in average for six months, period during which you can hardly have time to go back home/ accommodate your family; living environment, schooling, cost of living might not be comparable to the standards that you have known in other places; you may be stressed about the language/ cultural barriers.
With this all being said, Japan is a country which many people dream of visiting and living in for its beautiful sceneries, its modern and cosmopolitan aspects, its safety and many other wonderful things that Japanese people are proud of !