China Southern A380 Pilot Named “Quarantine King”

China Southern A380 Pilot Named “Quarantine King”

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Some companies have an employee of the year award. Meanwhile China Southern has a “King of Quarantine” award, and it was just given to an A380 pilot for his work in 2021.

China Southern captain spent 189 days in quarantine

China Southern has named Ma Jian as the company’s “King of Quarantine” for 2021. He’s an Airbus A380 captain who spent a total of 189 days (or 4,536 hours) in quarantine over the course of the year — yep, that’s over half of the year! As the airline described the captain’s actions:

“Every China Southern Airlines pilot knows that they maintain the stability of the international logistics supply chain and have become a symbol of China’s national strength during the epidemic.”

Even though he spent more than half of the year in quarantine, he “only” had 75 duty days over the course of the year, and flew a total of 505 hours. That’s an average of just under 10 hours of flying per week. It goes without saying that all international China Southern crews spent a lot of time in quarantine, though I guess this captain beat out others.

China Southern’s Airbus A380 fleet consists of five planes, though only three are in service at the moment. The planes primarily operate long haul services from Guangzhou to Amsterdam, Los Angeles, and Melbourne, plus some domestic services to Beijing.

Captain Ma Jian from the A380 cockpit

What is China’s quarantine policy for pilots?

Unlike most of the rest of the world, China continues to take a zero-tolerance approach towards coronavirus. China requires a minimum of 14-day quarantine when arriving in the country from abroad, and this even applies to airline staff.

While I’m not sure what exactly China Southern’s approach is, my assumption would be that crews work back-to-back trips in order to minimize the amount of time they spend in quarantine.

In other words, maybe a crew works a Los Angeles trip and then an Amsterdam trip, with just a two night stay in quarantine in Guangzhou between the two flights. After all, the full 14-day quarantine only applies to have free moment around China, so there’s nothing preventing crews from working several back-to-back trips, as long as they stay in their hotel rooms.

Presumably if he had only worked one trip at a time, he would have spent even more time than this in quarantine. It sure can’t be easy to be a crew member in this position, especially since crews also have to quarantine during their layovers.

Cathay Pacific has a similar policy, and we’ve seen some staff there reach their breaking point, choosing to leave their room during a layover, and then getting fired.

Bottom line

While it’s a strange thing to recognize someone for (or maybe just a sign of the times), a China Southern A380 captain has been named the company’s “King of Quarantine,” for spending 189 days in quarantine last year. While lots of airline employees have made sacrifices during the pandemic, it’s on a whole different level in China, where employees have to quarantine for 14 days upon returning to the country (unless they work another trip right away).

Unfortunately this captain is likely looking at a similar amount of quarantining in 2022, given that there’s no end in sight for China’s zero-tolerance approach to coronavirus.

What do you make of this China Southern “King of Quarantine” pilot?

(Tip of the hat to Simple Flying)

Conversations (23)
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  1. Wallace Guest

    China has a strict crew quarantine policy .Flight crew are not allowed to work back-by-back. This means suppose a flight from CAN to LAX, usually they should change whole crew at LAX before fly back to CAN. They can't now due to CAAC regulation, so they have to bring another flight crew for LAX to CAN, and rest of cabin crew continue to serve for the return flight. After that, they need to stay in...

    China has a strict crew quarantine policy .Flight crew are not allowed to work back-by-back. This means suppose a flight from CAN to LAX, usually they should change whole crew at LAX before fly back to CAN. They can't now due to CAAC regulation, so they have to bring another flight crew for LAX to CAN, and rest of cabin crew continue to serve for the return flight. After that, they need to stay in quarantine facility for one to two weeks for taking next flight mission.

    That's also why most foreign carriers chose to change crew in Korean. To avoid letting crew overnight(over week actually..) in China.

  2. Sarthak Guest

    You probably mean movement and not moment.

  3. FKXI Guest

    This is nothing to be proud of. Shame on the CCP

  4. Your mom Guest

    If he chose to and feels proud of it he is literally an idiot. Confuses resilience with submissiveness and does a weak favor to its colleagues in the Chinese speaking countries under 3 stupid governments, one more stupid than the next.

    1. Wallace Guest

      In China, being a polit usually is a life-long contract. It's state-paid training so they can't resign that easy…

  5. Belinda Guest

    I just saw a SCMP article shaming and blaming the Cathay crew quarantine breakers for rising produce prices in Hong Kong and I think Omicron . I couldn’t read it all, it was behind a paywall. My friend did 42 days herself as a returning college student from Switzerland to Hong Kong. They take that sh1t seriously.

  6. Guesto Guest

    "Plenty of fully vaccinated people, and even those with the booster shots, are getting it and spreading it." Plenty is an arbitrary number you made up. They aren't spreading it. Millions have died so 99% is misleading. ICUs report that the vast majority of covid patients are unvaccinated and wish they had just done it.

  7. Eskimo Guest

    Anyone asked his wife for comments?

  8. Dan77W Guest

    He’s done his service to “the state” like a good worker, no knock on this fine professional but they have their propaganda, nothing more nothing less… take this for what it it!

  9. Guest Guest

    Nice bit of CCP PR to "prove" how patriotic the mainland pilots are compared to their colleagues a few miles away in the Fragrant Harbour who have the gumption to lobby for their mental and physical health while Beijing's boot is on the neck of CX.

  10. Petex Guest

    Might be easier to just base them overseas and step foot into China a few times a year to see relatives

    1. Dan77W Guest

      Ahhh but that might corrupt them towards westernism…. Come on man

  11. Christian Guest

    While I'm sure the Chinese meant this in a complimentary fashion, Quanrantine King comes across about as positively as Syphilis King.

    1. Ethan Guest

      LOL so true, but tone deaf is the signature of Chinese propaganda.

  12. globetrotter Guest

    The Winter Olympics is two weeks away and the Chinese government wants to brag to the world that China does not hold a super spreader event. The west is too polarized, weak and money oriented to demand China for accountability and compensation for spreading the virus to the world. It should have closed its borders immediately--no entry and exit.
    @ Andrew: Eastern Asian countries place societal interests above personal interests. Tourism revenues do not...

    The Winter Olympics is two weeks away and the Chinese government wants to brag to the world that China does not hold a super spreader event. The west is too polarized, weak and money oriented to demand China for accountability and compensation for spreading the virus to the world. It should have closed its borders immediately--no entry and exit.
    @ Andrew: Eastern Asian countries place societal interests above personal interests. Tourism revenues do not dictate their economic policies. We can also question why non-vaccinated passengers are allowed to fly domestically.

    1. Mark Guest

      Plenty of fully vaccinated people, and even those with the booster shots, are getting it and spreading it. Maybe because over a 99% chance of surviving it...add again, that you can still get and spread it being fully vaccinated. If you're that worried about it, don't fly.

    2. foo blah Guest

      The point of vaccination is that you reduce your chance of getting COVID in the first place, and greatly reduce you chances of ending up in the hospital or dead. Unvax’d have a much, much higher risk of hospitalization and death, and make up the vast majority of ICU admissions and deaths. Just like any vaccine, it’s not perfect, but it bends the odds way in your favor.

    3. Blaz Guest

      That's the issue. Airlines are suffering not so much from the virus spread and vaccinations, but the harsh rules that apply. Who wants to travel if every time you get on or off a flight you might be up for a self funded stint in a crap hotel? That's not what I call travelling. Either we all fully vaccinate and open the place up using distancing and masks, or we just keep limping along while...

      That's the issue. Airlines are suffering not so much from the virus spread and vaccinations, but the harsh rules that apply. Who wants to travel if every time you get on or off a flight you might be up for a self funded stint in a crap hotel? That's not what I call travelling. Either we all fully vaccinate and open the place up using distancing and masks, or we just keep limping along while the virus keeps mutating. The third option is just to stop all flights, all travel and stay at home bunkered up for two weeks until this bastard virus dies out.

    4. UA-NYC Guest

      Fully vaccinated/boosted people aren't the problem right now (the anti-vaxxers are)...but good try at deflection

  13. Nathan Guest

    And Novak Djokovic is the quarantine queen

  14. Andrew Diamond

    Through all of 2020 and 2021, I was astonished about how many inbound and outbound flights for LAX there were from East Asia (China Southern, JAL, ANA, EVA, China Airlines, etc) despite allowing zero US Citizens into their host countries. Seems it wasn't all candy and unicorns for the staff working those flights. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Jeff Guest

      A lot of those flights aren’t terrible full. I’ve flown several times between US and East Asia. The loads could fill a CRJ. A lot of the routes were maintained for cargo.

    2. Zee Guest

      There’s still demand for travel between US and East Asia, though it is mostly green card holders and students nowadays.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Mark Guest

Plenty of fully vaccinated people, and even those with the booster shots, are getting it and spreading it. Maybe because over a 99% chance of surviving it...add again, that you can still get and spread it being fully vaccinated. If you're that worried about it, don't fly.

2
Nathan Guest

And Novak Djokovic is the quarantine queen

1
Wallace Guest

In China, being a polit usually is a life-long contract. It's state-paid training so they can't resign that easy…

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