mbav8r wrote:JBI, unless you are management from Encore, how can you say with certainty they are not currently looking at lower qualifications now, there is a lack of supply of experienced pilots willing to work for the pay on offer. Companies are changing their requirements because lower experience is better than parking airplanes or raising wages to them. I don't know what Canadian companies will do when green cards are made available to us.
I heard the other day and of course it's hearsay, Horizon was in Canada recruiting and had green cards, was offering 75g for Q FOs and a 2 year path to Alaskan, if this is true things are going to get interesting up here.
This is from the Captain ad,
You make a good point about the different minimums for the Captain posting and the FO posting. I am not management at Encore (nor any other operator) but do have a good working relationship with various companies' management. I am not exactly certain why there is the distinction between minimums for the Captain and FO positions, but will discuss below.
All of the regionals are beginning to see the effects of the pilot shortage. Air Canada is continuing to hire en masse to make up for the wave of retirements combined with a gradual decrease of people entering the profession. Encore has reduced its ATPL requirement for FOs, Jazz has been recruiting directly from the flight colleges for a few years now and not just for folks who have been awarded scholarships. Porter has been very forward thinking with their recruitment of FOs with lower time experience. I personally know of low time pilots who have been hired directly out of college or direct from an instructing position to the right seat on a Q400, Classic Dash or RJ. After being in the industry for almost 20 years, this still boggles my mind!
Unlike at Porter or Jazz (at the moment), Encore has direct entry Captain openings and this has been offered through a separate job posting than the FO openings. Also, unlike at Jazz, while upgrades at Encore are based on seniority, they are also based on meeting the qualifications set out in the upgrade matrix still listed on the Captain posting on the WestJet website. At the moment all current FOs, or direct entry Captains, must meet the upgrade matrix.
For example, if an FO has 3000 hours total time, they need to have 1000 hours of Q400 or equivalent time to be upgraded. Therefore, right now, an Encore FO is eligible to start the upgrade as soon as they meet the matrix (and have acceptable job performance) even if there are FOs senior to them who do not meet the matrix. My understanding for Jazz is that once an FO has obtained their ATPL, upgrade is based solely on seniority (and training performance). I am uncertain if Porter has experience requirements for Captain upgrades, but I do understand that there are and/or have been FOs who haven't been able to upgrade based on seniority at their desired base (i.e. YHZ) despite significant experience.
Encore now has approximately 40 aircraft. Like Jazz, they have done a huge amount of hiring in the last year and up until very recently, all FOs were required to have an ATPL. Presumably then, there are approximately 200 FOs with an ATPL (and thus over 1500 hours), that do not yet meet the matrix and are not eligible to be upgraded to Captain at Encore. There would be a mutiny if suddenly Encore were to allow new direct entry Captains who do not meet the matrix.
A direct entry Captain would have to meet the matrix in order to be upgraded. As is outlined above, the minimum allowance for upgrade as per the matrix is 2000 TT with 1500 hours on a Q400 or equivalent. It should be noted that in the matrix posted on the WestJet job posting, there is no indication of 250 PIC hours being required. It used to be that the direct entry Captain posting was only for the YYZ base, however, a little while ago it was opened for the YYC base as well. One can surmise that they are having trouble attracting enough qualified applicants for the direct entry Captain positions.
My educated guess is that like many of the online hiring portals, if one doesn't meet all the criteria of a job posting, it simply rejects a candidate. Therefore, in order to make sure there are not any potentially suitable candidates automatically rejected and/or dissuaded from applying based on previous additional hours requirements (I seem to recall a requirement for 500 PIC hours even for FOs, but I am uncertain), creating a lower threshold for additional applications to be viewed may widen the pool for additional candidates that may meet the matrix, but may not have met other criteria.
So, in response to the title of the thread: No, Encore is not hiring 1500 hour Captains right now. Any FO or direct entry Captain still has to meet the upgrade matrix. The minimum time is 2000 hours with 1500 hours Q400 time or equivalent.
Will Encore (or any other regional for that matter) continue to look for lower time candidates? You bet! I don't know the entire history of the upgrade matrix at Encore or the specific upgrade tests at Jazz or Porter, but I have no doubt we'll see lower experienced Captains being upgraded as Air Canada continues its hiring.
As for the US and airlines offering Green Cards - a company cannot offer a "Green Card". A Green Card is permanent residency in the US. Companies can offer to apply for a visa for a particular individual, the varieties of US visas and which ones are and are not eligible towards obtaining permanent residency status is extensive.
Could US regional airlines start offering to apply for visas for Canadian pilots? For sure, but it is an expensive, time consuming and political process. I have not heard of any US regionals that currently do not require the legal right to work in the US as part of their hiring criteria (and I am currently living in the US and do have the right to work here). Most of the US regional applications go through a website called AirlineApps and you have to have a US Social Security Number in order to even apply. Doesn't mean it won't happen in the future or hasn't already happened, but I don't think we're at that point yet (I am happy to be corrected though).
One thing to keep in mind with Part 121 flying in the US. In order to upgrade, FOs need to have 1000 hours part 121 time or part 91 (fractional ownership in jet aircraft) time. It has to be for a US operator. So as the law is currently written, someone with 2000 hours Q400 time in Canada, isn't eligible to be a Q400 Captain in the US.