SkyWest and ATP entered into a Pipeline Agreement where ATP Instructors can become actual employees of SkyWest while continuing to instruct at ATP until they are qualified to fly for SkyWest. One of ATP’s best was among the first group to go to SkyWest for orientation into the new program and his name is Justin Kaiser. I asked Justin to tell us what the experience was like and he shared the following with us.
On May 16, 2013 SkyWest Airlines invited six ATP instructors to their Salt Lake City headquarters to begin a new bridge program between the two companies. The experience was informative, inspiring and thrilling.
The day that the indoctrination began we met at the SkyWest facility at SLC airport. The SkyWest personnel demonstrated great enthusiasm about working for the company, which helped to enhance the experience. After a brief intro video on the history of the company over the last few decades, all new hires had their company photo’s taken, were fingerprinted, taken for a drug test, and set up on SkyWest’s online site. The entire indoctrination process was straightforward. In between sessions we were free to interact with other new hires and training personnel, and we were treated to a catered lunch.
After lunch the ATP cadets were separated from the rest of the training class and taken to a conference room, the same room we in which will all eventually be interviewed prior to new hire training. Here SkyWest personnel asked for our feedback and questions, and responded with a genuine interest to our opinions and proved to be upfront about the company and the direction of the new bridge program.
Following this exchange we were taken one by one for a brief HR style interview. Here we were asked questions regarding our personal experiences, leadership and professionalism, as well as what we were doing to prepare for the next phase of our careers. The personnel made it very clear that, while they want us to promote the company as part of the bridge program, they want cadets to truly feel positive about the airline and the bridge program.
Lastly, we were taken on a tour of the hanger. The line pilot who gave us the tour invited us to ask questions about the aircraft and even asked a few of his own. We were able to take some photos of the aircraft in the hangar, and in one instance were granted access to a CRJ900 for a more in depth tour. Actually viewing the equipment up close was not only exciting, but also informative. Having a line pilot discuss various aspects of a transport category turbine aircraft was a great learning experience.
Overall the entire experience proved to be exhilarating. The SkyWest personnel were all enthused and optimistic, making for an inviting and positive atmosphere. The potential for this program is extraordinary, allowing participating cadets the ability to effectively begin preparing for the next phase of their careers. For those who have a sincere interest in flying for a regional airline in today’s industry, the bridge program between ATP and SkyWest presents a straightforward and unique opportunity for professional aviators to expand their careers from instructing to regional airline flying.