A Bright New Long-Term Future at Air Wisconsin
Throughout our fifty year history, Air Wisconsin Airlines has taken pride in providing innovative regional capacity solutions to the US Airline industry. The Company recently announced a long-term capacity agreement with United Airlines which will provide an exciting new chapter of stability and growth for Air Wisconsin to operate 65 CRJ-200 aircraft in the United Express/United Airlines network. Commencing in September of this year Air Wisconsin, whose corporate headquarters are in Appleton, Wisconsin, will proudly become part of the United Airlines family once again and by late spring 2018, its entire CRJ fleet will be exclusively operating as United Express with primary operations in Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Washington Dulles (IAD). Air Wisconsin and United’s roots date back to 1986 and employees eagerly welcome the reunion and the opportunity to provide the highest levels of service to United’s customers.
As a result of this exciting new partnership, Air Wisconsin is rapidly increasing its pilot ranks and will be hiring 450-500 pilots within the next two years to support the new United Express operation. Needless to say this level of growth, coupled with substantially increased pilot and fleet utilization, will create great career opportunities and fast Captain Upgrades for new pilots with minimal time expected on reserve.
“We are very pleased to be re-establishing a long-term flying partnership with United and once again serving as a United Express carrier as part of United’s global network. This partnership provides secure, long-term opportunities for our employees as we expand and place our full fleet into service with United. Air Wisconsin has a proud history of delivering a superior product and we look forward to providing United’s customers with the safe, reliable and outstanding customer service that is the hallmark of our Company,” says Christine Deister, President and Chief Executive Officer.
Pilot Growth Opportunities
The new United flying agreement and the United Career Pathway Program provides Air Wisconsin’s pilots a unique opportunity for career advancement to United Airlines. The expanded United service, the Pathway Program and the significant pilot growth required in the workforce will accelerate the upgrade time for First Officers and new hires to as little as 18-24 months and possibly sooner for those hired in the next 12 months.
Industry Leading Compensation and Benefits
In February of this year, Air Wisconsin announced the new starting rate of $35/hour for 1st year First Officer pay and a $33,000 baseline hiring bonus. In addition to this baseline bonus, there are several other bonuses for which a new hire pilot may qualify. For more information go to: www.airwis.com/pilots.
Air Wisconsin offers the best 401(k) program with a match up to 8% with 3% guaranteed by Air Wisconsin regardless of employee contribution. In addition, Air Wisconsin has industry-leading health care benefits with an employee premium cost share of only 25% and no deductibles. Other great benefits include a minimum of 12 days off per month, up to 35 days of vacation per year, premium pay of up to 200%, cancellation and deadhead pay at a full 100% —all things that create an unrivaled industry leading compensation package that maximizes the quality of life for all of Air Wisconsin’s pilots.
Supporting Pilot Development and Training
Within the last year, Air Wisconsin introduced an Airman Trainee Program. This program provides future commercial airline pilots an opportunity to work part-time for the Company and begin a career-building, professional mentorship and overall relationships with the Air Wisconsin pilot group. On top of bi-monthly paychecks, Airman Trainees enjoy benefits such as the 401(k) match, travel privileges and are eligible for employee referral bonuses (up to $4,500 per referral). The Airman Trainee position has been designed to ensure a smooth transition from the classroom to the cockpit by providing tools and resources at the onset of a pilot’s development. The pathway for an Airman Trainee candidate is not restricted to certain schools or programs. Airman Trainees have a very high success rate transitioning to First Officer positions at Air Wisconsin as a result of this program.
Air Wisconsin’s investment in its crew members continues throughout all facets of the operation with an emphasis on training. Each pilot receives the best training in the industry from initial, upgrade and recurrent events. To ensure an optimum experience for pilots, the flight training department is based 100% in-house including the ATP/CTP program. Maintaining pilot training within Air Wisconsin is a valuable investment that allows the Company to leverage the experience of its professional instructor group, which has over 500,000 hours combined instructional experience. Our dedicated and experienced training department ensures a smooth transition for new hire pilots into the safe, professional culture that makes Air Wisconsin the best in the regional industry.
Air Wisconsin’s company culture is driven by two key areas; a focus on safety and recognizing the value of our employees. Safety at Air Wisconsin is our main priority which we accomplish everyday by integrating safe practices and procedures into every facet of our operation. We value our customers, crews and co-workers as a core part of our culture and we hire quality candidates who share our commitment to safety and excellence.
The Company strives to create an environment where employees enjoy coming to work and know that their contributions are recognized. Air Wisconsin accomplishes this through various individual and team based programs throughout the year. Air Wisconsin also provides financial sponsorship via Teams Giving Back, encouraging employees to extend the Company’s well-known spirit of service and excellence throughout their own communities in the form of volunteerism.
Our People Make the Product
What makes Air Wisconsin a great place to work? Ask any employee and they’ll say, “The people.” Air Wisconsin places a high value on employee fit as well as qualifications. A family atmosphere, respect, and a culture that fosters creativity is why the Company has a workforce of nearly 1,400 employees dedicated to its continued success.
“What sets Air Wisconsin apart is something I didn’t realize until I became an employee. At Air Wisconsin, I am privileged to fly with amazing employees who are lifelong friends. I learn from those senior (and junior) to me and have been fortunate to mentor and train some of the pilots who joined our team after me. The people make our difference,” states Tim K., a veteran Air Wisconsin pilot.
Air Wisconsin’s reputation is so highly regarded, that many employees recruit co-workers including their own family members. There are several examples of multiple generations of families choosing to work for the Company.
Your Future With Air Wisconsin
Our Company’s 50-year history includes relationships with United Airlines, US Airways and American Airlines and was made possible by our great team of employees. As Air Wisconsin soars into the future and continues to grow with our new exclusive flying relationship with United Airlines, we look forward to welcoming the next generation of Air Wisconsin’s pilots who will build on our proven reputation. Don’t let our name deceive you – although our corporate office is located in Wisconsin, the breadth of our flying network currently covers, or in the past has covered, the Midwest, East Coast, Mid-Atlantic, Rocky Mountains, California and Canada.
We welcome all outstanding men and women aviators to join our team of dedicated, professional pilots as we embark on another great chapter in our history with United Airlines. Join us and receive the best training, pay and benefits in the regional airline industry – as well as the fast-paced career growth opportunities you are looking for!
Interview with Michael Perrizo, Managing Director of Flight Operations
Craig: How do you select applicants to be brought in for an interview?
Michael: We are proud that Air Wisconsin pilots are known for being some of the best in the industry. When we select a candidate for an interview we are looking for a pilot that can not only stand up to our Company’s high standard of safety, but will be a good fit for our close knit Company culture as a future leader. This is critical because we need to interview every pilot as a future Captain due to our upgrade time that is expected to be between 18 and 24 months.
C: What can an applicant do to increase their chances of being called for an interview?
M: All applicants can contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide their resumes for immediate review. Applicants with prior 121 or 135 experience along with those who are about to meet or exceed the ATP or R-ATP minimums have a much greater chance of being selected for an interview for a pilot position. Applicants who do not yet meet ATP or R-ATP minimums should still apply to be considered for an Airman Trainee position.
C: How critical is it to attend a job fair to get an interview?
M: We love the opportunity to get to know all of our candidates on a personal level and job fairs often offer the opportunity for a pilot to meet one on one with a member of the Pilot Recruitment team. This not only helps us get to know the candidate better but also the candidate to get to know Air Wisconsin.
C: What is the best way to prepare for an interview with your company?
M: We recommend that each pilot study Air Wisconsin Airlines to understand our values, our mission, and how they can be a contributing member to the team. We are looking for pilots who can clearly demonstrate their quality of character and technical proficiency with a passion to be a part of an amazing group.
C: Do you recommend that applicants get to your interview city the day before and get a hotel room for the night?
M: We do recommend that candidates arrive in the city where their interview is being held the night before. We understand that this may not be possible in all cases, but it removes some of the stress that is associated with a job interview. To assist with the financial burden associated with the travel, Air Wisconsin provides positive space travel to the interview and works with each candidate to help offset the costs.
C: Can you walk me through a typical day of interviews?
M: Our Pilot Recruitment team loves to share their passion about working for Air Wisconsin; to share this passion they first sit down with the candidates to go through our Pilot contract and discuss any questions they may have. Our team then looks to gain further insight into the pilot’s background and judgment in regards to safety, customer service, and overall experiences. Pilots will be evaluated on their proficiency with approach plate charts and competency of general aviation principles as well as their reaction to high intensity situations.
C: What kind of questions can an applicant expect to be asked?
M: Questions are broken down into three general areas. The first area focuses on a pilot’s background and experiences. Following those background questions, we focus on two areas which help us determine how the candidate will react in various situational/behavioral and technical scenarios. Situational/behavioral questions ensure the pilot’s fit with our Company’s culture and values. Technical questions show us where the pilot stands when looking at the Company’s high standard of safety as well as the candidate’s ability to be able to upgrade quickly and join one of the best pilot groups in the industry.
C: What are some of the biggest mistakes that applicants make during the interview process?
M: The biggest mistake we have seen applicants make during the interview process is not providing full disclosure when discussing past and present training, experience, and situations.
C: Is there a written or computer test?
M: We use a 50 question test with questions deriving from the ATP-written test bank. This evaluation allows our team to gauge a pilot’s technical competency and further provides insight as to the experience level of the candidate.
C: Do you tell applicants they are hired in person that day?
M: Depending on the situation, there are cases where applicants will know following their interview if they are receiving an offer of employment. In some instances, we will need to gather more information from the applicant before we can extended an offer of employment.
C: If not, how long do applicants have to wait to know if they are hired?
M: We will reach out to every candidate as soon as possible which is normally no longer than 24 hours after the interview.
C: How soon can an applicant expect a class date after being hired?
M: Per FAA regulations, every candidate must pass a drug screen, FBI fingerprint check, and background check before they are able to start in class. Air Wisconsin works with the candidates during this time to join a class date that works for the Company and the pilot.
C: How many pilots does your airline expect to hire this year?
M: Over the next two years we expect to hire 450 to 500 pilots to support our increased fleet utilization with our transition to United. So in the next 12 months we are looking to add 225 to 250 pilots. With our aggressive hiring projections over the next two years and beyond pilots will see upgrade times of 18 to 24 months and possibly sooner for those pilots hired in the next 12 months.
C: Can you explain the ATP/CTP class that your company offers?
M: Air Wisconsin provides a Company paid ATP/CTP course. During this course we pay a starting salary of $35 per hour and provide single occupancy hotel accommodations. The course is designed around FAA regulations where you will receive 30 hours of in-house ground school and 10 hours of level-D simulator training. We do not outsource this course. Our training is provided with our Company instructors and equipment. At the completion of our course, you will be eligible to take the ATP written exam.
C: Do you have a hiring bonus? Is there any specific criterion to qualify for the bonus?
M: Air Wisconsin is excited to offer a $33,000 baseline hiring bonus. Every new First Officer is eligible to receive this bonus amount which is paid out over three years. In addition to this baseline bonus there are several bonuses for which a new hire may qualify. Candidates should contact a member of our Pilot Recruiting team for more information.
C: Does Air Wisconsin have a pilot referral program?
M: We do. Any Air Wisconsin employee that refers a pilot who is hired on and completes training is eligible to receive up to $4,500 per referral.
C: Can you describe the career path program that Air Wisconsin has with United Airlines?
M: We are excited that through our partnership with United Airlines our pilots will now have a defined path to United through the Career Pathway Program. We are aggressively working on the Pathway Program implementation and will be sharing details in the near future.
Headquarters: Appleton, WI
Year Founded: 1965
Number of employees: 1,400
Number of Aircraft: 65
Number of Passengers: 6 million per year
Number of Bases: 5 bases
Bases: PHL, ORF and DCA; ORD and IAD to be opended in the Fall of 2017
Number of Cities served: Approximately 71
Key Benefits: Projected 18-24 month upgrade times; baseline $33,000 sign-on/retention bonuses; $35/hour starting pay; defined Career Pathway Program to United Airlines; industry-leading health care benefits with an employee premium cost share of 25% and no deductibles; industry-leading 401(k) match up to 8% with 3% guaranteed regardless of employee contribution.
Website – airwis.com
Phone – (920) 739-5123
Facebook – facebook.com/airwisconsin
Twitter – twitter.com/airwisconsin
LinkedIn – linkedin.com/company/air-wisconsin-airlines
Instagram – instagram.com/airwisconsin
Tina Vos, Managing Director of Human Resources
Michael Perrizo, Managing Director of Flight Operations
Tori Willing, Human Resources Manager of Recruiting
Amber Biela, Social Media & Communications Manager