- Getting pilots to take a chance on the startup, which is slated to begin flights amid an ongoing pandemic recovery period, has surprisingly not been an issue for Breeze.
- Around 4,400 pilots have already applied to fly for the airline with only around 85 spots available.
- And the pandemic has given Breeze a lot of talent to choose from as airlines have been downsizing pilot pools with furloughs and voluntary leave programs. “We’ve really been able to be selective and get the cream of the crop,”
- Breeze plans to operate two aircraft types: the Embraer E190/95 and Airbus A220-300. Both have the same requirements in terms of minimum flight hours but each offers pilots a different lifestyle.
- Pilots assigned to the Embraer fleet will return to their base every night instead of spending nights on the road. It’s a concept that saves Breeze on hotel expenses but also allows pilots to spend more time at home.
- But those seeking the typical pilot lifestyle of multi-day trips out on the road will find it on the Airbus fleet. More traditional flying consisting of two to three-day trips will be common on the A220, and pilots preferring that lifestyle should hold off on applying.
- Pilots hired to Breeze now will be assigned to the Embraer fleet while the application window for the Airbus fleet will open early this summer. Once a pilot is assigned to one aircraft, though, they’re locked in for at least three years before a switch can be made.
- All applicants are required to have at least 1,500 total hours with 1,000 hours of experience flying fixed-wing turbine aircraft, regardless of whether applying for the Embraer or Airbus fleet.
- Breeze is working with college aviation programs to implement “pipeline” programs that put aspiring airline pilots on a track to work at the airline.
- American Airlines said on Wednesday it had reduced its outstanding debt by $2.8 billion after repaying loans under various revolving credit facilities.
Multiple news sources reported on this statement from AA, as more of the story develops we will keep you posted here.
- A rare sighting in the aviation industry over the past year is becoming more common: help wanted signs.
- Now as travel demand returns, they are shifting their focus back toward hiring again. Pilot training can be time-consuming and costly. So airlines plan years in advance, generally so they can have enough pilots to handle peak summer travel seasons ahead.
United last week told staff it plans to resume pilot hiring, starting with some 300 pilots that had a new-hire date or conditional job offer when Covid-19 derailed those plans last year.
- It also said it plans to start training the first class at its flight school this year, with the aim of training 5,000 pilots of the 10,000 it expects to need over the next decade.
- JetBlue Airways, meanwhile, said in a message addressed to 200 pilot candidates who were interviewing with the New York airline in 2019 and 2020 that the carrier is taking steps to begin hiring new pilots later this year.
- Budget carrier Spirit Airlines resumed training 24 new pilots last month and plans to train a similar number in April, a spokesman said.
- Another ultra-low cost airline, Allegiant Air, on Tuesday said it plans to open a new base in Austin, Texas, and will “immediately begin hiring pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and ground personnel to support the operations.”
- American Airlines-owned regional carrier PSA Airlines has opened up its hiring to external candidates.
- Levy’s low-cost, low-fare startup, Avelo Airlines, announced plans to begin flying April 28 from its base in Burbank, California, to 11 cities in the West.
“Most airlines serve the main airport in a big metro area,” he said. “That’s part of why we’re doing something different. I love small secondary airports.”
- Avelo’s 11 destinations will initially include just two with daily service — Phoenix-Mesa (AZA) and Santa Rosa, California (STS)— and just one — Ogden, Utah (OGD) — with six weekly flights. Four weekly departures will serve Arcata-Eureka, California (ACV); Bozeman, Montana (BZN); Eugene, Oregon (EUG); Medford, Oregon (MFR); and Grand Junction, Colorado (GJT). Three weekly flights will serve Bend, Oregon (RDM); Pasco, Washington (PSC); and Redding, California (RDD).
- Initially, the fleet will consist of three aircraft, 15 to 17 years old, but Levy intends to grow with slightly younger planes, adding three more in the third quarter. The industry’s pandemic downsizing has made airplanes widely available at low prices, the same phenomenon that contributed to the 1993 startup of ValuJet, where Levy got his first airline job in 1994.
- As for staffing, Avelo hires reached 199 on Wednesday. Levy foresees starting operations with about 225 to 250 employees.
- Six months from now, Levy said, Avelo might well be looking for a second base, perhaps at an East Coast airport, although he noted that Dulles is “way too big.” Besides Wilmington, he mentioned Hagerstown, Maryland, and said that Trenton, New Jersey, would be nice “if Frontier wasn’t there.”
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