Six Chinese pilots to pay nearly 10 mln yuan for resignation

2008-05-29 12:09:31 GMT       2008-05-29 20:09:31 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

HANGZHOU, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Six pilots from major carrier Air China will pay a total of 9.65 million yuan (1.39 million U.S. dollars) to win their freedom before Sept. 8, when their contracts formally expire.

The five captains and a first officer will pay 1.29 million yuan to 1.7 million yuan each to Air China's Zhejiang Branch, following an arbitration session in the Xiaoshan District People's Court on Thursday, a court official said.

The pilots sought to quit last October, but when the carrier refused, they sued its Zhejiang branch, which then demanded more than 35 million yuan in compensation.

The Xiaoshan court has dealt with more than 10 cases of air captains' resignations in recent years. In most cases, the compensation was paid by the pilots' new employers.

In China, airlines often require pilots to sign contracts lasting up to 99 years. But the booming aviation sector means other airlines often seek to lure them away, experts said.

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