Starting an Airline Career amid the COVID-19 Pandemic


Despite the dismal façade the media has painted of the aviation industry, there are airlines not only maintaining revenue positive but recruiting flight op’s professionals at full power, like OAI and GTI. It is, therefore, still a great time to hop into a cockpit and launch your career in the skies.

In this article, we will go over the 3 general components that Part 121 flight operations recruiters look for in their applicants (mostly via Airline Apps): FAA certifications, flight time, and collegiate education.

FAA Certifications

Regional (like YV)

  • FAA First Class Medical Certificate
  • FCC Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit
  • FAA Commercial Pilot Certificate (+ Multi Engine and Instrument Ratings)

Mainline (like WN)

  • FAA First Class Medical Certificate
  • FCC Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit
  • FAA Airline Transport Pilot Certificate (+ “Airplane Multiengine Land” Category and Class Ratings)

Flight Time

Regional

  • 1,500 Hours Total Flight Time (Unrestricted ATP) or 1,000 Hours Total Flight Time (Restricted ATP)

Mainline

  • 2,500 Hours Total Flight Time or 1,500 Hours Total Flight Time in a Turbine Aircraft

Collegiate Education

Regional

  • High School Diploma or GED

Mainline

  • High School Diploma or GED
  • Accredited Four-Year College Degree is Preferred

In general, pilots

  • complete their flight training/earn their licenses/ratings/certificates at Part 141 and/or 61 flight training centers,
  • earn their hours as a CFI/CFII/MEI or by flying for Part 135 operators (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXFl4Krd3J4),
  • then start their flying careers at a regional airline (which, after about 2-years, sets them up nicely for a lucrative dream job at a mainline).

Currently, pilot’s collegiate education ranges from high school diplomas/GED’s to Ph.D./M.D.’s so, while it is not required to earn a 2-/4-year degree, it will definitely position you well among competition.

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