View Full Version : Working as a FO in Caribbean for Winair, etc
11th Dec 2010, 23:06
Hey guys :8
I was in SXM in January and loved it, but kind of forgot about it. Anyway, just started watching old pictures & videos. And then watched some more at YouTube. Saw that documentary about dangerous airports, did not know about St. Barths. I also installed MSFS2002 after a period of 8 years without flying and started hopping around the Islands... Anyway before I get started on my life story. Let's have a possible scenario:
I finish my training in USA with the FAA licences. (I am not sure whether you do your frozen ATPL in USA, or when you return to Europe (I live in Europe)).
Anyway, I finish with let's say 800 flight hours in total after working a year as a flight instructor. Now what I wan't to do is live a couple of years in The Caribbean flying Liat or even smaller companies like Winair so I can fly from Island to Island. Anguilla, St. Barths, SXM, etc.
So instead of me going around dreaming of this day to happen. Is this a realistic scenario? I would guess and say that it is probably easier to get a job here instead of returning to Europe and try my luck here and there with smaller airlines/Ryanair.
I am sure many of you know a lot more than me on this issue, so will be looking forward from hearing from you. If any of this is already posted, please accept my apologies and show me the link :ok:
For those who have not seen it
YouTube - Most Extreme Airports St Barts (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z2o0acIlm4)
11th Dec 2010, 23:26
I`m pretty sure Ryanair is the biggest airline in Europe.
12th Dec 2010, 13:58
I`m pretty sure Ryanair is the biggest airline in Europe.
You would be wrong. The biggest airline in Europe is Lufthansa (both by fleet and passengers carried per year). Followed by Air France/KLM group and British Airways/Iberia.
12th Dec 2010, 14:08
That RyanAir comment was meant as a joke since some people do not wan't to work for them, anyway back to the topic. If I am not mistaken, there is one Norwegian pilot currently flying in Caribbean. Are you a member here?
14th Dec 2010, 23:27
You might try the charter companies in the Caribbean, that might be an easier way to go than the airlines.
Still fun flying.
15th Dec 2010, 19:38
"Doing the Caribbean for a couple of years" is NOT a realistic scenario. Of the airlines you quoted, LIAT hires ONLY Caribbean nationals, and - as of an email I received last week - has no hiring plans at this point in time, even for regional citizens.
I am not currently aware of WinAir's hiring plans, but I am reasonably sure that you would be required to have a Dutch Antilles / JAR Commercial Licence to start there, and you may have to pay for your own Twin Otter training and rating. A US Commercial may be able to get you a temporary dispensation from the DCA there for as long as a year, but at some point you MUST write the local exams or be terminated and have to leave the country. If you do work there - or almost anywhere else in the eastern Caribbean - it would be under a Work Permit because with few exceptions just about every island is is own sovereign country.
Contrary to what else may be suggested, very few non-regional pilots fly in the eastern Caribbean (Dominican Republic to Trinidad), for the simple reason that they employ their own qualified nationals. At this particular time there is also an excess of unemployed regionals around who have thousands of hours - and many of those have a Dash-8 rating. Some qualified regionals are even flying elsewhere - notably Africa, Far East and Middle East - because there are simply no jobs at home.
If you get a US licence, you might try the USVI or Puerto Rico, but the last I heard after 9/11 the Department of Homeland Security was making it very difficult for non-US citizens to even learn to fly in the USA, far less get a job flying commercially.
Bear in mind that as a European Citizen you could try the French islands, but I am sure they use the JARs and a US licence would be useless to you. The Dutch Antilles just became independent and now do their own thing, but I believe that for the present they will stick with the requirements they had before.
I'd say do you would be very wise to do some in-depth research before you spend any money. There are still - and probably always will be - training establishments and businesses in the USA who will happily tell you a string of lies and gladly accept ALL of your money before you are supposed to start, even if there is no way to fulfil their side of the agreement. And I doubt you would ever see your money again.
Alternatively, do the US licence (if you can), get some experience (wherever you can), then start sending out resumes to European airlines, just like everybody else. You are going to get abused at first, just like everybody else, until you have some real qualifications and experience. You should know that there are very few of us who do not "pay our dues" - and that those hard-working "hard times" are probably the happiest periods of our careers!!.
Finally, keep your eyes and ears open all the while for anyone who can give you a step up or a recommendation. This is a small brotherhood, and helping each other is one of the few ways we can get ahead.
16th Dec 2010, 07:19
Liat hires everyone from the caribbean but Trinidadians
17th Dec 2010, 22:39
Isn't Ryanair the one whose CEO sugested airplanes could be flown with only the captain aboard, and give the boot to all FO's to bring the cost down?
21st Dec 2010, 02:58
Passenger last month was a 1000 hr pilot. Just left an instructing job in the U.S. and starting a job flying in the Caribbean. Canadian citizen, so there are options for expats in the Caribbean.
21st Dec 2010, 22:34
"Liat hires everyone from the caribbean but Trinidadians"
What a broad statement - so what nationality are the Trinidadians now flying for LIAT??:ugh:
7th Jan 2011, 03:23
Thanks a lot for replying guys :)
Especially BimJim, appreciate that! :ok:
8th Jan 2011, 11:07
Regarding intructing, I'm taking it you wont to instruct in the states, correct?
If so, do you have a VISA that allows you to work, not just study? If you dont, those are not handed out easily!
9th Jan 2011, 19:08
I m trying to take the stock of the situation, but I m a bit confused because I really don t know much about Caribbean..
bimjim , thanks for your post you ve been well clear, I just would like to ask you which countries in the Caribbean accept JAA license?
and what the conversion to local license, if necessary, consist in ?
that area seems to be a mix of jaa faa and locals..it make me confused
can you or someone else clearify this point, please?
18th Jan 2011, 02:48
still looking. send me a priv msg:ok:
5th Feb 2011, 01:20
Try svgair or mustique out of st Vincent.
5th Feb 2011, 08:54
I think it is difficult to generalize regarding licencing as each local authority establishes it's own criteria. As a minimum expect to sit an air law exam in order to receive a local validation certificate to be able to exercise the priveleges of your licence. The exception may be if you have FAA certs for the USVIs/Puerto Rico. This is of course without addressing citzenship issues.
The best chances for low hour pilots is flying light twins in single pilot ops with charter/airtaxi operators. Not glamourous but it's good time building experience and, as you become known over time, may eventually get you into the right seat of a turbo prop.