Some of the most popular articles here on PilotJobs have been the Flying the Line articles featuring airline pilots that we know who have let us share some of their experiences as professional pilots with you so that you can know what the job is all about. We want to offer the same opportunity to some of the airline recruiters that we know, to be able to share their experiences with you also so that as you begin your airline career that you will know what they are looking for.
Ken Mayfield is foremost an airline pilot, a Captain for Mesa Airlines. He has been with Mesa for longer than most employees working there and has held many positions in the training and operations departments. One growing problem that Ken thinks about most often is pilot recruiting. Ken has spent many years at Mesa working on recruiting even when he was heading other departments because he knows that the future of Mesa Airlines, as well as the rest of the airline industry, is completely reliant on their ability to attract and recruit quality pilots.
We asked Captain Mayfield some questions that we hope will help you get your first airline job once you have completed flight training and instructing at ATP:
· What are the most important things that you look for in an a pilot who has applied to work at Mesa Airlines?
Good interpersonal skills. A solid, stable work history including experience working as a pilot, successful training at Airline Transport Professionals Flight School.
· What characteristics have you seen in unsuccessful interviewees that disqualified them?
No knowledge or specific desire to work for Mesa Airlines. Leaving multiple jobs after a short period for vague or ”personal” reasons. Not repeating an Unsat training event until successful or, not seeking additional instruction after an unsat event. (example: unsat CFI practical then deciding to take a different path)
· How many pilots do you anticipate hiring in the next year?
We expect to hire 280 more pilots in 2015.
· Do you expect to see a difference in upgrade time in the next year?
Right now our upgrade time is very short at just under one year. I expect that to stabilize at 2-2.5 years by the end of 2015…unless additional expansion is announced.
· How has the pilot shortage impacted your company most?
We are still attracting qualified pilots however the average age of a typical applicant has increased by 10 years. We have found that the additional experience is less beneficial to an applicant than the recency of formal training.
· What do you expect of a pilot who you have hired aside from their flying skills?
A good work ethic. Good interpersonal skills. Leadership skills.
· What is the best piece of advice you can give to a pilot preparing to interview with your airline?
Do your homework. The number one requirement is you must want to work for Mesa Airlines. A key indicator of his is how much you know about the operation. Be open and honest. Don’t be evasive when questioned about items or gaps on your application. We want to get to know you. We want the pilot who you would trust to sit next to you
· What question do you ask in an interview that you feel tells you the most about your interviewee?
· What competitive advantages does your airline offer pilot applicants over other airlines? How do you “sell” your airline?
We have a relatively small pilot roster and steady growth. We have the best employee group in the industry. Our best sales tool is this: sit in our jumpseat and meet the crews.
· FO pay scales and benefits?
First year pay $22.18 hr. Second year pay $29.00 hr. Third $32.00. Most will upgrade before they see third year pay. Second year captain pay on CR900…$63.00. Travel and benefits competitive.
· Is your company looking at any new incentives to help deal with the deferred cost of flight training?
We looked five years down the road and saw no future in incentivizing pulling pilots from other carriers. It just creates shortages somewhere else which will trickle up to the legacy carriers eventually. The only real solution to our current pilot search is to incentivize bringing more applicants into the industry. We have entered into a program with ATP to do just that.
· Do you plan to open new pilot bases in the next year?
Not at this time.
The “program with ATP” that Ken referred to is the ATP/Mesa Airlines Tuition Reimbursement Program, which we have written about on PilotJobs in the recent past. Although several airlines are offering signing bonuses and substantial retention bonuses, Mesa is the first airline to reach out and help defray the cost of flight training for pilots entering the airline industry. This truly presents a seamless pathway from being a student pilot flight-training with ATP, to building necessary flight time as a flight instructor with ATP, to starting an airline career flying for Mesa Airlines… with the added benefit of having Mesa Airlines help pay for it.