Black_Tusk wrote:PasCo is loosing pilots by the dozens to the regional airlines. When 8-10 year Captains are leaving, you have to wonder why. If you like starting work at 6am and being done at 8pm every day after flying 13 legs and be poorly, have at er.
You are correct that Pasco is losing a significant number of pilots to the regionals and AC/WJ mainline. But the vast majority of them are not leaving because they dislike Pasco, but rather the opportunities away from Pasco are just too good to pass up at this particular time.
However, they also have a number of senior Captains who are there for the long haul. Up until Encore and the PML, Pasco was THE place to be to get hired by AC or WJ. It was a pretty smooth transition of spend your 3-7 years at Pasco, get 704 & 705 command time and then move on to AC/WJ. This was pretty standard in the 2000s and up til about 2015.
But then a few things happened that made a lot of pilots at Pasco and the rest of the Vancouver operators question the direction their career was taking. First, with the PML, the Jazz YVR base went from being ridiculously senior to being able to hold it right out of training (and with SKY and Georgian taking more of the flying out of YYZ, it was less likely that you'd get stuck in YYZ). In addition, the upgrade times at Jazz dropped significantly. Lastly, there were a couple pilots who were in the pool at WJ mainline for over a year and then lost their spot.
Next, with the most recent application window at AC, the pilots with a degree got the "we would like to do a phone interview with you at some point in the next year" email and the pilots without a degree got the "Please try an AC Express career". This was regardless of whether they were a Saab Capt or a 1900 FO. So, you had a number of senior Captains who originally planned to stay at Pasco until AC or WJ called trying to decide their options. Did they want to fly a Saab around BC for the rest of their career? Some decided they did, some decided they didn't.
Pasco is a great company and the pilots, generally speaking, are treated well. 13 legs in a day is not a regular occurrence. The standard is between 4 and 8 legs a day. Keep in mind that includes the 6 minute flight from Campbell River to Comox and the 12 minute flight from Vancouver to Victoria. Though yes, you do get a few days of Vancouver - Campbell River - Comox - Vancouver twice and then add in a Victoria turn and perhaps another turn and it makes for a long day. I liked my schedule at Pasco better than at the regional I'm at now and was home way more. The downside of the Pasco schedule due to the nature of the business is that it can change quite a bit during the day. It was rare that we'd do 13 or 14 hour days (though they definitely did happen). Also, while you'd have some early mornings, it wasn't all the time. You do almost no night flying in the summer. It would occasionally happen that once the fall came, pilots would have to do night circuits to get their currency back.
There were days when I thought I would be done at 4pm, but they needed me for another turn and I didn't finish til 8. Did it suck? You bet - but I still got to sleep at home that night. I would say I averaged 4 - 5 nights away from home while there. At my regional job I'm away 14 nights or more. The joke is that Pasco stands for "Planes And Schedules Change Often". And, while it definitely happened less often, there were days where I'd get to go home earlier than expected. My understanding is that they're working on improving the predictability of the schedule, but there's only so much you can do with the nature of their business.
I'm not sure what the pay scales are now, but for Captains, especially if they are involved in training, there is the potential to make high five figures / low six figures. While you can do better eventually at AC/WJ (and even the regionals) probably, I would argue that's a pretty fair salary.
Pasco isn't for everyone. There are people that don't like it and choose to leave (There are pilots who don't like AC and choose to leave). However, most of the pilots I know that have recently moved on from there didn't do so because they didn't like Pasco, but because the circumstances meant that moving to a regional now seems like a better shot at getting to a mainline job quicker (there are also a number of pilots who have recently started with WJ mainline). I didn't leave Pasco because I didn't enjoy it. On the contrary I miss the flying and the people. For me, family circumstances meant that it wasn't feasible for me to stay.