Month: November 2008

Interview With An Airline Recruiter

The following is an excerpt from a conversation I had with Captain Dan Robertson who is the Head of Pilot Recruitment with Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA). Captain Robertson has held the position of Chief Pilot with ASA in addition to his position in the Recruiting Department, and lately has been speaking with pilots across the country about the impending pilot shortage that most experts agree is coming in the relatively near future. ATP’s Airline Career Pilot Program trains students from a Private Pilot to Multi-engine Instructor with Commercial ratings in as little as ninety days, which is the most direct path to an airline job possible. In addition to that, in today’s competitive airline hiring environment, these ATP Career Pilot Program graduates also have the skills and ratings to then instruct and build the quality flight experience necessary to compete for and earn their wings as an airline pilot. There is some lead time associated even with this accelerated path to the airlines and as such, Dan also speaks to the need for young aviators in this country to begin flight training now to be ready to take advantage of the future hiring needs of the airlines.

Dan, is ASA presently interviewing applicants for pilot positions with ASA?

Although we were hiring through May 5th of this year, ASA has presently met our pilot hiring needs for 2008 due to the slowdown in the economy and capacity cuts by Delta.

Does ASA have any pilots on furlough?

No, we have not furloughed any pilots at all.

With the present slowdown in hiring it may seem as if it will be more competitive in the future to someone training to become an airline pilot, what would you say to them?

When hiring begins again, hopefully in late 2009, we will select the most suitable applicant from our hiring pool and qualified applicants. We have developed a rating point system where applicants receive extra points for the total time, multi-engine time, CFI. CFII, MEI, jet time, turbo-prop time and advanced jet training. Our goal will be to hire the most suitable candidate so encourage your students to continue to obtain additional ratings and experience.

Airlines were all hiring in the not too distant past, but now they have slowed down. You have been in aviation for a long time and have seen this before. What would you say to a person who is considering a career in aviation?

We are currently in one of the industry cycles caused by a poor economy; however, encourage your students to not be discouraged as this time too shall pass. In fact, I predict another pilot shortage within two years of the time the major airlines start another hiring spree.

Aviators who train in the Airline Career Pilot Program with ATP will have most of the requirements you mention above when they graduate from the ACPP, as well as have positioned themselves to train other pilots while they build valuable flight experience. Will this make them suitable candidates for interviews at ASA when hiring begins again at ASA?

We have hired a tremendous number of ATP trained pilots over the years and look forward to interviewing your students when our hiring resumes. Let me know if there is anything I can do to encourage young aviators as the career of an airline pilot is one of the most rewarding in the world.

Strong Demand for Large RJs is Keeping Regional Aircraft Manufacturers Smiling.

Manufacturers of regional aircraft experienced another robust year in 2007 as orders for larger RJs more than made up for the lack of sales for 50-seat RJs. The transition to 70/90-seat jets meant plenty of business for Bombardier and Embraer, while soaring fuel costs helped push sales of ATR 42/72 and Q400 turboprops to record levels. Anxious to enter the regional jet market within the next 12-24 months are new aircraft from Sukhoi of Russia and AVIC of China, while Mitsubishi of Japan plans to have its 70/90-seat Mitsubishi Regional Jet in service in 2013.

Inreased Demand for Regional Jets Means More Pilots are Needed

ATP Announces Price Decrease For The Regional Jet Standards Certification Course

There has never been a better time to position yourself for starting an airline pilot career with the Regional Airlines. Experts like Kit Darby, founder and president of AIR, Inc., show that historically pilots hired right after a hiring downturn are in a great position. Those on the front of the next hiring wave will have the advantage of seniority over many pilots hired after them. This additional seniority has advantages, like less time on reserve, and faster captain upgrades.

All of ATP’s airline partners have told us that they expect to return to hiring in 2009. Some are announcing that they will begin as soon as January. We have already begun to see this as over 30 graduates of ATP’s Regional Jet Course have been hired by Regional Airlines in the last 60 days. Please take a look at ATP’s Airline Hiring & Placements Page to see which Airlines are hiring these graduates now. Also see the training environment you will enjoy while training with ATP.

During this period of reduced demand, ATP has lowered the price of the RJ Course from $6,995 to $4,995. Anyone scheduled for a future class date will receive the price reduction also, even if they scheduled at the higher price.

Also, look out for a future announcement that ATP will offer a free “RJ Refresher” program for graduates who go longer than 6 months without getting a job. More details will be available soon on ATP’s website.

Mesaba to fly 14 CRJ-900s taken from Mesa/Freedom Air

Delta Airlines has reassigned 14 NextGen Regional Jets from Freedom to Mesaba Airlines which operates as Northwest Airlink for the new Uber Airline composed of Delta and the former Northwest Airlines. The move adds to the number of RJs taken from Freedom and reassigned to Northwest Airlink carriers reportedly due to Freedom’s failure to meet contractual performance standards in an effort by Delta to improve service.

Welcome aboard Mesaba Airlines