The most successful candidates who are being hired are those who are confident, professional and can demonstrate that they know how to safely operate the aircraft.
By virtually any measure, SkyWest Airlines is a leader within the regional airline industry. Their nearly 3,500 professional pilots operate more than 1,700 daily flights to 193 cities across the United States, Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean. This summer they will also launch service to three cities in Alaska. Flight crews have the option to work in 14 different domiciles, ensuring maximum flexibility for commuters. They currently have 160 dual-class regional aircraft in a fleet that totals more than 330 planes – that’s more than Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines and virtually every other regional carrier. Specifically, they operate 163 CRJ200s, 98 CRJ700s, 36 CRJ900s, 25 E175s and about a dozen EMB 120 turboprops. There are more than two dozen additional E175s that will be delivered in 2015 and SkyWest has the potential to receive up to 300 more aircraft that have been ordered in the next 10 years.
Given its current status, it may be hard to believe that SkyWest started with just a few six-seat airplanes in the small town of St. George, Utah. The new airline had one goal when flights were launched: provide reliable service to passengers who needed to get to Salt Lake City. Thanks to a lot of hard work from countless employees during the last 43 years, and a little bit of luck, SkyWest has consistently grown in size and importance in the aviation industry. Even during downturns within the industry, SkyWest has remained successful.
The secret to SkyWest’s unmatched operational and financial success is their well-known focus on taking care of their people. The more than 10,300 aviation professionals, including nearly 3,500 pilots who call SkyWest home, enjoy industry-leading pay and benefits, such as:
- Profit sharing
- 401(k) plans with a company match
- Travel privileges with multiple major carriers
- Medical, dental and vision plans
- Employee stock purchase plan
- And much more
And right now is a great time to join this impressive company. SkyWest is hiring up to 100 new pilots each month. Those new crewmembers are needed to help support the continued focus within the industry on large, regional jet operations. The growth also means that there are a lot of opportunities with an average upgrade time of less than four years.
According to Tracy Gallo, VP of Flight Operations at SkyWest Airlines, the most successful candidates who are being hired are those who are confident, professional and can demonstrate that they know how to safely operate the aircraft.
Craig: What can new pilots expect when they apply to work at SkyWest?
Tracy: From the minute someone fills out the application for a first officer position at www.SkyWest.com we’re working to provide them with individual attention. That starts with the application review. After looking through their qualifications, our recruiting team will reach out to make arrangements for an interview or follow up if something was missing from the application. If possible, we may schedule an interview at one of our recruiting events that are held across the United States, or we may fly them to Salt Lake City or Denver to meet with our recruiting team.
During that process, we really want to get to know the applicant, ensure they meet our qualifications, and test their knowledge about safely operating an aircraft in a 121 environment.
C: What kinds of subjects are normally covered during an interview?
T: After a written exam, we will spend some time going through CRM questions, Jeppesen knowledge, aircraft systems, FARs and some general HR questions. We then will focus on a more technical evaluation. This will go through 121 rules and approach procedures, en route chart knowledge and symbology, jet aerodynamics and high-speed flight characteristics and similar topics. We may also have the pilot go through a simulator evaluation.
C: How long does a typical interview last?
T: It will vary but generally lasts a few hours. When we fly someone in to meet with an interviewer, it will typically last most of the day.
C: When will a new pilot find out that they have secured a position at SkyWest?
T: We try to notify pilots as quickly as possible. Most are contacted within a week of the interview and some are awarded a position on the spot.
C: Are you doing anything to help applicants get their ATP if they don’t have it yet?
T: Yes. If a pilot applies at SkyWest and still needs their ATP written, we will send them to an ATP-CTP course to ensure they meet that new FAA requirement.
C: Are you offering any incentives for new pilots to join SkyWest?
T: We are currently offering a $7,500 bonus to any new pilot who comes to SkyWest with an RJ type rating. The bonus will be paid out once they complete their IOE.
C: How quickly does a new pilot get into class after passing the interview?
T: There is at least one new hire class starting every month and try to get everyone into class as quickly as possible. In a few cases, we’ve had pilots complete their interview on a Thursday or Friday and start class the next Monday. On average though, pilots will be in class in less than 30 days.
The SkyWest recruiting team attends career fairs and hosts interview events on a weekly basis. All of the upcoming times and locations are posted at www.skywest.com.