With only so many vacancies to fill, the pilot shortage is gone and replaced by a highly competitive job market.
The aviation industry is experiencing a mass exodus of furloughed airline pilots trying to find work in private aviation.
XOJET Aviation, for example, is looking to increase its fleet by 50% and hire between 40 and 45 pilots for every 10 planes it adds.
Even the most eager applicant will need to contend with thousands of like-minded colleagues all with comparable levels of experience vying for the few available vacancies.
"I think the last I looked, we had something like 4,000 pilot resumes applying for XOJET Aviation," Kevin Thomas, XOJET Aviation's president and chief operating officer, told Business Insider in an interview.
To land a job in private aviation, however, pilots will need to prove to their prospective employers that they can be active and engaging both in the cockpit and outside of it. Unlike in the airlines, private aircraft pilots are the main point of interaction for passengers since their flights largely operate without gate agents, customer service agents, or flight attendants to act as a buffer between the passenger and pilot.
Every operation is different – with on-demand charter guests less repetitive than aircraft owners, for example – but the onus is on the pilots to leave a good impression as the sole in-field representatives of the company.
Interviewers are also looking at personality to determine whether the pilot would be a good fit in the company since private aircraft firms are small and familial operations compared to the airlines. One bad apple, as the saying goes, could spoil the bunch.
Boasting thousands of pilot hours and a long list of aircraft type ratings won't likely be enough to get hired at a private aviation firm, especially when the competition is likely equally or more qualified and also coming from an airline job.
"Just because you have 10,000 hours, doesn't mean you're as proficient as a 3,000-hour pilot.”
"Being a pilot with a lot of flight time is not enough – we want good people."
Amazon just purchased 11 Boeing 767-300ER aircraft to be converted into cargo freighters for its Prime Air fleet.
The deal is notable as it's the first aircraft purchased by Amazon instead of leased. Amazon has traditionally leased aircraft from freight giants like Atlas Air and ATSG, who operated the aircraft and provided the crew, maintenance, and insurance.
It's a buyer's market for the 767 right now as passenger airlines are retiring them.
Amazon's purchase also furthers its goal of bringing more of its delivery services in house. Prime Air launched in 2016 and the fleet has since grown to over 70 aircraft, with this latest acquisition likely just the beginning for Amazon as more passenger aircraft are retired and sold for cheap.
The first aircraft will fly this year with the rest taking to the skies by the end of 2022.
How To Get Jobs That Aren’t Posted Online | Tapping Into The Hidden Job Market
Historically, the hidden job market was about unadvertised jobs. Fast forward to 2020, and you’ll find that the process is still about getting to hiring managers and recruiters early in the process, ideally, before the job is posted or engaging with that employer as soon as a listing goes up.
The secret today is about getting to the job opening early in the process so you can get looked at. “Getting a jump start in communicating with employers before the crowd arrives is critical.”
People typically are good at looking for jobs on the search boards but not through relationships. When you are actively networking and being strategic, you will be more successful,”
“On the surface, you see only the ice berg’s top. Equate that to the job market, and you only see a small portion of the jobs advertised. The massive amount of ice under the water is the entire word of mouth process companies and hiring managers go through to fill an opening. The manager knows about this opportunity long before the job gets listed, and the HR recruiter posts it. The hiring manager is telling everyone they know about the job and passing the word before it’s publicly announced.
Many people are found early in this stage, often on LinkedIn. The recruiter is actively sourcing out good candidates based on your profile and its keywords,”
Focus energy on building relationships to help gain access to inside information about job opportunities that may not have been posted publicly yet. You can start with people you already know — even if you have lost contact with them over the years.
To be found, you must start with a complete and highly effective LinkedIn profile.
There is no such thing as a BAD networking contact. As long as they are employed inside a target company, they are a valuable asset to you. And if you get an interview, that contact can help you by providing useful insider information.
Bill Gates joined the battle for Signature Aviation Plc, allying with Blackstone Group Inc. in a $4.3 billion approach for the world’s biggest operator of private jet bases.
The involvement of Gates means Blackstone becomes the firm favorite to purchase Signature after Carlyle Group Inc. said Thursday it was also considering a potential offer. A third suitor, Global Infrastructure Partners, said in December that it was considering its options after its lower bid was rejected.
Private flying is one of the few travel sectors to have benefited from the coronavirus pandemic, offering the well-heeled the opportunity to continue traveling while minimizing potentially risky contact with other passengers.
The involvement of Gates, who owns 19% of Signature Aviation, makes it difficult for rival suitors to propose a deal capable of reaching that threshold.
Under the Blackstone plan, Microsoft Corp. founder Gates would contribute his shareholding and top it up with cash to become a 30% owner. Blackstone owns 70% of the bidding entity.
Signature confirmed the Carlyle approach and set Feb. 4 as a deadline for a firm offer. GIP’s deadline to submit a formal proposal is Jan. 14.
In isolation, the sudden increase in governments introducing testing requirements might be seen as a positive step towards meeting IATA’s demands for international testing regimes to open up travel markets.
But in terms of the airline industry’s prospects in the coming months, the immediate impact of such moves is to add barriers to travel, helping to offset at least some of the optimism around the rollout of vaccines as operators look towards the northern hemisphere summer season.
Previously bullish Ryanair’s decision to downgrade its traffic forecast for 2021 only days into the year highlights how quickly sentiment has changed.
“The aviation industry supports pre-departure testing, but this should be to facilitate the safe opening of borders and lifting of travel restrictions,” says IATA today in response to the UK’s imposition of Covid-19 testing requirements. “It should not be introduced simply to create a further barrier to travel. Presentation of a negative test result should be sufficient to enable those passengers that need to travel to cross borders safely and efficiently without quarantine.”
Aside from the logistics involved in getting a test, the patchwork of ever-changing requirements is yet another barrier to travel for people already wary enough about moving between countries in a pandemic.
Presuming, therefore, that concerns about new variants of Covid-19 persist and vaccines only have a limited effect on the prevalence of the virus this year, testing requirements introduced by individual countries may be the only way to allow pent-up demand for short-haul leisure travel to be met, for example, in a scenario where governments drop their quarantine requirements as the current wave of the virus drops away.
In that case, the country-by-country testing requirements could yet prove invaluable to the airline sector in 2021 – if the process around securing tests and the cost implications are addressed.
But ultimately, with the next couple of months largely written off by many airlines as a period of severely depressed travel, the true impact of testing requirements will only become apparent as countries mercifully move beyond the current wave of the virus.