Alex Osleger is the Director of Operations for Chautauqua Airlines, which is one of three airlines owned by Republic Airways holdings. Mr. Osleger has established himself as an authority in the regional airline industry, so we were very pleased when he took time from his hectic schedule to answer a few questions for us.
Is hiring going to be more competitive when airlines start hiring again?
Yes it will be more competitive. In the past airlines were hiring pilots below 500 hours total time and minimum multi-engine experience. Once the hiring cycle begins again the minimum total time will increase significantly. This could be short lived though depending on the demand for pilots once the hiring frenzy begins
What are some of the qualifications that will distinguish an applicant from the rest?
The more experience the better. Getting as much multi time as you can is the greatest benefit; if that happens to be turbine time it’s even better. Having been through an RJ course and having experience with a glass cockpit and automation will help the qualifications of the pilot applicant.
Do you see a pilot shortage looming sometime in the future?
Yes, this could happen within two years, after the airlines begin hiring pilots again. This is based on hiring at the levels prior to the slow down. This shortage will have more of an impact going forward than the shortage of pilots previously.
What flight training can a person just entering aviation get to increase his/her chances of becoming an airline pilot?
Start by enrolling in a reputable flight school that does more than just training to get certificates.
Is being an Airline Pilot still a viable career?
Wrong person to ask!<laughs> Yes it is and those who start towards that now will be ahead of the game when the airlines start to hire pilots again.
What would you say to a person who is seriously considering entering the field of aviation as a professional aviator but having a hard time making the move because of all the bad news out there?
If you want to be an airline pilot the best time to start training for a career in aviation is when the airline industry is in a down turn. A good rule is basically begin the training towards an airline career when you have been reading about the doom and gloom in the airline industry for awhile.
What has your experience been with graduates of ATP’s flight training programs?
There are only a couple of sources that we rely on for quality applicants and ATP is one of them. The pilots from ATP who have come through here have been fantastic and I have been delighted with them.