Disclaimer: opinion only. Do not make financial decisions without independent expert advice.
Right now in 2019 is a fantastic time for employment in the aviation industry. Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin and Air New Zealand have been actively recruiting. This has a flow on effect creating vacancies in smaller regional airlines like Rex and in flight schools.
This really is becoming a once in a generation opportunity to grab pilot jobs and enter at a time when vacancies are causing chaos for some major airlines already.
Wages growth and promotion opportunities "should" be the best they have been in a very long time. The usual supply of ex wartime air force pilots is now completely out of the jobs market and the high training costs have caused a mass under supply worldwide.
It should be noted that an outbreak like "SARS", "Bird Flue" or a "GFC" type economic event, a terrorism strike, or an oil price shock, can shift the supply demand equation for pilots rather rapidly.
This is why those already decided and committed to the process ought to get in and get qualified ASAP, even if it costs more to get qualified faster. Dragging your heels and taking your time only exposes you to more of the potential risks in the paragraph above.
Employment options include:
Qantas - Qantas has intake from both a cadet program and a general intake
Jetstar - Melbourne Cadet Program
Air New Zealand - have been recently recruiting from Aussie flight schools, taking pilots with 500 hours on CMEIR
USA - positions int he USA are much easier to obtain, however pay rates are low to very low. None the less it can give many the leg up they need to keep building hours on type.
The armed forces have huge requirement for non combat pilots to fly logistics, transport and reconnaissance aircraft.
The higher than normal recruitment of pilots into airlines is having a ripple effect all the way down and will create many new vacancies for instructors in GA flight schools. The boom in training pilots from Asia is also creating ongoing opportunities at present.
RAA flight schools also provide opportunities for employment. Most outside major metropolitan areas will have at most part time work.
Remote Area Flying
Remote area pilots jobs are almost always available. Pilots doing big hours in these areas also rate highly at airline intakes, due to their ability to navigate, cope with harsh environments and often they are required to be a jack of all trades. This is a great experience and easy way to get started in building big hours for a career.
Hooking a job in remote areas is all about contacts, so wither make contacts by cold calling cattle stations and aerodromes or start talking and looking for pilots who have done so and network to make contacts. Facebook is also a great way to locate and network with some of these business owners.
The majority of jobs are for mines, politicians or govt employees, farms, mail, emergency deliveries , medical or flying people to and from remote properties or communities.
Scenic flights and float plane flights operate out of most major tourist hot-spots and can be a great starting spot , especially those with less frequent flights. The less busy they are, the more difficulty they have in retaining pilots. Regional tourist operators will be a great starting point.
Parachute operations are a common starting place, with many operators paying the pilot through hour building or a tiny cash reimbursement, eg: $20 per flight.
Parachute operations can be extremely dangerous, are often extremely last minute and rushed and you should discuss this at length before taking on any job as a meat-bomber pilot. Chutes can become entangled on aircraft, aircraft can be damaged by jumpers and balance is a big issue as people move around or hang out of the aircraft.
The Employment Gap
At the end of almost every training course in every industry there is a gap between getting the qualification and gaining employment. In our case a freshly minted CPL graduates with around 200 - 250 hours.
The problem is most employers until very recently wanted 500+ hours. So how do you bridge that gap. How can you afford to grab another 300+ hours and make yourself employable.
Here's a few options:
- Go up north to the Kimberly, Darwin, Cairns, Alice etc and hang around working for operators in any capacity you can. Frequent the pubs they gather at and network hard.
- Start offering your services for free (initially) to parachute ops and glider towing.
- Send resume's repeatedly, keep them updated and keep them very short. 1-2 pages is ideal.
- Monitor pinstripe solutions and the various Facebook groups. Recently even a Dash 8 job was advertised in PLA FB Group.
- We have several CPL grads now who scored their first jobs using these exact methods.