View Full Version : Strife at BAC

25th Jun 2002, 20:45
Rumour has it that trouble is brewing at BAC Express, the staff are on a pay freeze, no bonus is likely for the staff this year but apparantly bosses are in for a big bonus themselves. This along with a Captain on FO's wages, some Captains doing their own deals with managment, and pilots expected to operate from two bases after the summer along with a shortage of staff. Things could be turning sour.

Could someone confirm any of this.

I also understand employees are expected to pay for their own type ratings.

Balpa could be busy this year!

25th Jun 2002, 23:20
Yes, Goofy, that all sounds pretty accurate to me
See Ad in this week's Flight

Twosheds Jackson
26th Jun 2002, 08:26
:rolleyes: Can say with certainty, all Captains appropriately remunerated. FO pay rumour is long dead!!

davere van leatherboot
26th Jun 2002, 19:46
I see that that BAC are offering jobs for f27 rated pilots in glasgow and edinburgh, aswell as type ratings on the aircraft with a job at the end.
I think you have to pay for the rating though,sounds like a company that's about to take the money and run..

Any thoughts?

Hugh De Payen
27th Jun 2002, 00:24
I dont wish to hijack the thread here chaps gut G-OOFY has raised a question in his text, probably without realising it!

I also understand employees are expected to pay for their own type ratings.

Now, this concern has reared it's head before and now begs the question, will one day all / majority of airlines resort to making pilots pay for their own type courses?

The constraints being put on airline management to reduce the operating costs coupled with the shortage of employment since the downsize post last Sept, must set the the big guns into thinking that they can reduce costs dramatically by; Letting people prove that they want to work for us, effectively geting the cream of the crop for the cheapest price.

Very interesting if I may say so myself!

27th Jun 2002, 00:42
Companies will try to get pilot applicants to pay for their own type ratings (and anything else) as long as the ruse is successful. We all know that many persons entering at the bottom of the commercial aviation ladder are willing to b*** o*** and do anything to get that entry level job. You have to have some sympathy for this attitude, after all we were all at the bottom of the ladder once and needed that first "break" into the system.

The problem arises when their actions devalue the jobs higher up the ladder. After all, what is the point of putting up with misery in your entry level job when all you succeed in doing is to destroy the jobs you were aspiring to. If a company can get a cheap pilot, someone willing to pay their own training, all you will see will be a string of "alter ego" airlines with each sequential pilot grouping paying a larger and larger share of their hiring costs.

Companies will only insist on pilots paying their own costs while pilot supply is high in relation to demand and there are enough desparate pilot applicants willing to go along with the idea.

27th Jun 2002, 07:52
It is all to do with the laws of supply and demand. While there are surplus pilots looking for jobs then some employers will ask for this sort of thing. Once the supply of new pilots dries up (and it may not while the property market continues to go crazy), employers will become more reasonable in their demands - as reasonable as necessary to get the new, cheap pilots they require. Only when the young, flushed with the enthusiasm of youth, percieve that this job is no longer glamorous and well paid will we see the adverts getting larger and the employers shouting louder as to what a wonderful job flying a passenger aeroplane is! The adverts we see in the back of Flight carrying a picture of a B747 and four rings on a sleeve will no longer be appended to the name of a flight training organisation, but an airline!

We live in hope!

(How many older readers wanted to be a (steam) engine driver when they were young?)

27th Jun 2002, 11:24
BAC deal is £9,500+VAT for rating, if you pass the course you get the job, pre screening interviews before the course though.
Compare cost of this with a 737 rating at £15k....

27th Jun 2002, 12:07
I understand the possible vacancies are for F27 - I believe they charge around £12k for the rating training - add accomm., travel, etc and you are likely to pay out more like £13k - nearly same as B737 and only three F27 Operators in whole of Europe!?
Also, latest development G-OOFY referred to is getting crew to be based at EDI AND GLA - That's what GO and Easyjet tried, I understand and it got 'binned', I believe - no wonder - you try that drive at strange times - and where do you live? Cost, fatigue and funny rules about stand-by within one hour of 'Base' give rise to interesting questions. I suppose you park up half-way along the M-Way for 10 hours, or so, to see if you are operating all night after all? Should get interesting to see how that ends up

27th Jun 2002, 13:57
Is Mike Forsyth still running BAC Express?

27th Jun 2002, 19:17
I have been in this game for over 40 years.

Do not ever, ever, ever go to work for an employer who requires you to pay for your training/type rating.

You will not be doing yourself a favour whatever you may think.

Such employers are simply not worth working for. A good employer will hire you for who and what you are and then train you properly.

You might have to sign a bond which disappears over 3 years or so. I don't like bonds either but I have seen many selfish pilots try to break theirs (with no success) and they have ruined it for dozens of other good aspirants.

27th Jun 2002, 21:28
Thank you JW 411. In that case we will all sit back & enjoy our dole cheques and wait for a miracle to happen.

Times are hard, companies are struggling to remain in business and you advocate - nothing! Many of us want to continue our careers, look after our families and WORK. Please get a life.

27th Jun 2002, 23:51
Pedroalpha you are right the best way to look after your family is to add another 15k of debt on your remaining debts, JW411 is right no airline is worth working for if they insist on you paying for your training, I know it's tough I have been there myself but you just have to stick at it one day you will get your lucky break.

Anyway when a airline bonds you for 3 or 4 years you are in a way paying for your type rating because if you leave before your bond expires you have to pay the remaining cost for the type rating, but taking out another 15k on a type rating is not worth it because when you get your pay cheque at the end of every month you will find that there is not much left after you pay back the monthly payments on your 15k loan as well as the one you took out to complete your cpl training and don't forget your living expenses, you will be worse off financially for a long time.

The market will improve.

Thoroughly Nice Bloke...
28th Jun 2002, 05:08
Pedroalpha… Well-said mate.

Skylord757… you’ve hit the nail on the head, whether you go to Ryan, Astraeus, BAC or are bonded you end up paying for your training one way or another.

JW 411… WAKE UP times change; personally I would prefer to pay up front and not have a bond, Oh and I think I’m right in saying that we still live in a democratic society and so we each have the option to make are own minds up…

28th Jun 2002, 18:48
Thoroughly Nice Bloke:

I'm afraid that you two have rather lost the plot. I have been seriously out of work twice (complete with a wife and two kids and a mortgage) but I have stuck to my beliefs that any employer who will not pay for your training is not worth working for. I have worked in pubs etc in the meantime and it paid off in the end for I have had a pretty successful aviation career in the end.

The original thread was about whether it was a good idea to pay for an F27 type rating (£9500 + VAT + the expense of doing the course) because the company involved were "hurting" and couldn't afford the training costs. A job would follow provided that the course was completed successfully.

Where would you be if you didn't pass the course? If the company is that strapped for cash, what are their long term prospects? How successful have they been in the past? Do they have lots of contracts in hand so that if they lose one, they will be able to continue in financial health with the other existing contracts without laying pilots off?

If you have any doubts on any of these questions then you simply must not even entertain the idea, for you will be £9500 + VAT + expenses out of pocket.

On the credit side, you will have a type-rating on a 40 year-old aeroplane that very few companies fly and is as much use as a chocolate kettle!

By the way, I had a friend who paid for an A320 rating some years ago. He still has it but never ever did get a job flying the A320!

There also seems to be a bit of confusion about how bonds work. In my present company for example the bond lasts for 3 years. Provided that you stay with the company for 3 years then it does not cost you a penny. The bond is simply amortized on a monthly basis and your take-home pay is exactly the same as a type-rated colleague.

Hap Hazard
28th Jun 2002, 19:32
:rolleyes: Pedroalpha and JW411, no matter what your views on paying for type ratings are, one things certain, with BAC they will sure as hell make sure they will come out on the winning end as far as money is concerned.
They have always been a cut throat outfit as far as costs have been concerned.
Bottom line is if you have 15k to spend and you are willing to chance it then go ahead, personally I would expect some levels of guarantee's, which I dont think you are going to get.
I agree with JW411, why are we paying up front for the privilege(?) to work for these people?
If BAC wanted to be really fair, then why not just bond as normal, or failing that pay back the 15k over 3 years?
The reason.....because they can.
Its a tough call for those who have yet to find that first job, tougher when you pay up and dont get what you expect...not that I would expect to happen, but it does have a big element of risk involved with all the cards stacked in BAC's favour, if indeed this is what they are doing.
Be careful....
Last time I had anything to do with BAC, Mike Forsyth was at the helm, tough customer who drives his staff, otherwise a friendly enough company....dont under estimate their abilty to be around in another 10yrs, they are a bit like the cockroaches of the aviation world....they will survive where others fail....as long as Royal Mail keep them in the air!

Sir Stanley Bigh
28th Jun 2002, 20:24
While there is a supply of pilots desperate for that first FO position, then there will be people willing to pay the money for a type rating. Many turboprop operators will get their come-uppance when their Captains desert them in droves as the employment situation improves. If I was the manager of a smallish turboprop outfit, I would be trying to get people onboard on a heavy bond but without upfront type rating costs, with the possibility of promoting them to the LHS and keeping them for a year or two at least. It will turn around as sure as eggs are eggs, in fact I think the cracks are already appearing!

Deep Float
28th Jun 2002, 20:28
Can anyone tell what BAC Express will pay after this self-sponsored TRTO course?
I have heared all the arguments for and against this, but depending on what the rewards are after the expense, it might still be worth it, in my humble opinion.

Raw Data
28th Jun 2002, 23:07
A couple of thoughts on this.

The advantage of paying for your type rating is that you can leave whenever you want, unlike your colleagues stuck with a three-year bond that they can't get out of at all. This means that you can take advantage of a rapidly-changing employment market.

The chances are very high that, if you do move on, the subsequent rise in salary will more than pay for the loan you took out to pay for the type rating.

I have seen this happen many times; folk take out loan to buy turboprop type rating, six months later they get hired by a bigger operator and still show a massive increase in take-home pay, despite the training loan.

One thing is for sure, there is NOTHING as frustrating as seeing the job market take off, just after you signed a three-year bond to fly a turboprop... watching all your friends flying big jets while you still have two years to go on your bond... the loss of potential earnings alone is horrendous.

29th Jun 2002, 10:15
Well guys I'd be very careful to say the least.
I payed for a type rating several years ago but eventually got a job flying something else.
Also, when I joined my present company with a current type rating they still bonded me, I shall say no more !:( :(

Raw Data
29th Jun 2002, 10:50
Just to clarify the above post by Smokie, a company cannot bond you for something it has not provided. If, for example, you turn up with a valid type rating and simply need an OPC or LPC to get back on line, a company can't then bond you for a type rating it hasn't provided- that is illegal.

On the other hand, if the company in question deems your ability or previous training to be inadequate, it may want to re-train you, and that is something they can obviously bond you for. The point is, they have to be able to point to an expenditure on their part in order to enforce a bond- which has to be reasonable.

Also, some companies bond for initial checks and/or LPC/OPC, annoying as this may be it doesn't usually represent a lot of cash.

Finally, I am very much against the practice of selling type ratings, or, for that matter, bonds. However, the practice is becoming more widespread, and what it really represents is an attempt to control costs and reduce training risk. This is a perfectly reasonable business practice and does not imply the operator is somehow "fly by night", and it also says precisely nothing about a companies cash situation- is Ryanair cash-strapped? Don't think so, and they make you pay for everything!!

29th Jun 2002, 15:30
For the record with regards my situation way back then. I sat on the jump seat to observe a "Base Check/ IR renewal", as it was called then, took my turn and was signed off and started a weeks line training the next day. I was still bonded though.
Bit cheeky if you ask me !

However on a positive note when I did the Jet conversion course
18 months later they forgot to bond me, swings and roundabouts
I suppose. :p

29th Jun 2002, 17:16
This thread has been nicely hijacked by now...is there anyone who cares to explain the situation AFTER the training?

What are working conditions, pay, roster, aeroplane conditions?

29th Jun 2002, 17:29
Raw Data:

I'm sorry but I can't get round your logic. You reckon that you would rather pay for a type-rating than be bonded so that you can leave whenever you like.

Let us suppose that the cost is £12000. Let us also assume that you work for that company for 1 year and then decide to move on. You have now lost £12000.

Your friend agrees to a bond which is to be amortized over a 3 year period. He also leaves after one year and therefore only has to repay the outstanding bond of £8000.

Both of you have been payed exactly the same salary so who has lost £4000?

By the way, I had a beer with an old mate the other night who has recently retired as Flight Ops Director of a fairly large UK airline. He has never hired anyone on the strength of them already having a type-rating. He would rather have the right chap and train him.

I have three other mates who are or were recently FODs so I must ask them when next we meet.

davere van leatherboot
29th Jun 2002, 19:59
Well Guys BAC don't seem to be in a hurry to get my money.I just got a no thank you letter this morning.Things are so bad I can't even get an interview, even if I'm willing to pay for my type rating.

Now that I've got the moan over with STUFF them I think they were just testing the water anyway, and this self-sponsered course was never really happening.Funny how one can become bitter after 60 rejection letters, and I've got 700 hours with 200 multi.

Raw Data
30th Jun 2002, 00:09

Fairly simple.

If you buy the type rating, the money is spent (and being paid back). If you take the bond, the problem a lot of people have is that they become trapped by an inability to pay the bond (usually due to a combination of lowish F/O salary, wife, kids, mortgage). They are then stuck. Airlines know this, which is why they use bonding- most bonded pilots stay for most of the bond period. Although the stated aim of a bond is to recoup training costs, the real reason is to retain staff. My point wasn't who pays more, simply the different paths and their advantages/disadvantages. I wouldn't personally prefer one over the other, they are both onerous- but here to stay.

Buying a type rating and then using that to help you find employment is the sheerest folly, in Europe at any rate. It may work with some of the out-dated turboprops, but most jet operators will want to train you themselves- rather than spend time getting you up to speed with their SOPs. I completely agree with your retired FOD friend.

However, paying for a type rating with an employer makes a lot more sense, and I go back to my point about Ryanair- they don't seem to have any problem filling slots. I would be fascinated to know how many they chop from conversion courses, though.


Quite right, very cheeky indeed!

30th Jun 2002, 13:27
Well crikey bobs, you go away for a day or so and things just take off.

Whilst I am extreamly happy for people to debate the whole pay for/bonding process on this thread (a shameful practice in my opinion) please continue. Bonding for a sensible amount over two/three years (ie 8-10 thousand for a turbo prop, 15 for a large jet) is just about bearable. Paying for a rating is I think is a no no. Not only have you just put in £XX,000 for licence/IR, Mcc etc. But then to fork out a further £XX,000 takes the p***.

PLease if anyone could confirm any of the other details in the original post I would be most grateful.

Let battle commence.

Raw Data
30th Jun 2002, 22:05
The logic is perfectly sound, as it does not consider the needs of only one specific individual.

Also, I never said that one was preferable to the other- they are simply options.

Some have the money to pay upfront, get the job, and be able to move on whenever they like. Others don't, and can therefore be trapped by a bond.

It all comes down to your individual circumstances. Horses for courses, and all that. If you only consider career advancement, buying a type rating can either be very good (as it was for quite a few 757 drivers a few years ago) or very bad (if you got sucked into the BMI "type rating with a job at the end... er ... maybe" scam of the mid-nineties).

I am completely against paying for type ratings, and bonds in all their forms. Other industries train people to do the job, spending tens of thousands on them, and never even the hint of a bond. So it should be in our business.

However, I also recognise the economic realities- which means that bonds are probably here to stay (subject to a possible EU legal challenge), and that type ratings will always sell whilst there are those rich enough (or with daddies rich enough) to pay for them.

And that, folks, is the way the world is. Choose your individual morality, and take your stand accordingly.

Norman Stanley Fletcher
30th Jun 2002, 23:13
I would just like to concur with some of the previous contributors about the dangers of going to turboprop outfits and staying on when others go to jets. I know the world is v. depressing right now on the job front, but it will undoubtedly change for the better within a year from now.

I am one of those who took the first job that came along (as you do) and was exceedingly grateful to fly night freight with a turboprop outfit. I subsequently went to a jet company, got kicked out 6 months later when it went bust and then went back to flying turboprops. I ended up as a line training captain with the last company and really enjoyed it - so much so that I never really bothered to get the finger out to apply for other jobs. Eventually I did, and I now fly A320/1s for a great company but as a very junior FO - but still earning more than I did as a turboprop Training Captain. I will have to wait several years to get a sniff of a command despite my past experience because we are a seniority-based company. What I discovered on getting here was a real revelation, as there are loads of pilots who were much smarter than me and pushed all the right doors when they had 200-1000 hours. They got in early and have just sat there gaining jet experience and slowly moving up the list. All credit to them, and they are all about to reap the benefits by becoming Captains on minimum hours (3500-4000).

The moral of the story is this - do not waste one minute more than you have to do with turboprop companies because for the last few years there have been loads of very low-hour, young lads/lasses out there who have been creeping in the back door at big jet companies and getting that vital jet time plus seniority within their company. I do not grudge one of them their success as they had a lot more nouse about them than I did, but it is proving to be a very costly error on my part.

Reality Checks
1st Jul 2002, 07:11
To all those out there who are considering paying for type ratings at BAC, or any other outfit. Listen to those that have been around the block and speak from experience.


If you are desperate for your first job then I doubt very much you are thinking clearly. Don’t have a go at those that are only trying to offer very sound advice.

1st Jul 2002, 18:02
Back to the subject of the original post, has anyone had a positive response from BAC rescently or regarding their F27 course?

Unlike some airlines, at least they seemed to be offering a guaranteed job at the end of it, not just a rating.

Air Mail
1st Jul 2002, 19:07
The contracts are only for six months (possibly re-newable) and the salaries are less than what they pay their existing crew.

So basically, you will paying BAC for the previlage of working for them!!

neil armstrong
2nd Jul 2002, 18:41
I did work for BAC for some years (didnt pay to get in) and enjoyed it.
But talking to some friends of mine ,the company has changed a lot and some people are ready to throw in the towel and do something else.
What is a shame because it was a nice friendly setup.
Good luck to all my fliends at BAC.


2nd Jul 2002, 23:46
G-OOFY, you just asked for replies to your original question - fair point! I posted on 25th and 27th June, in which I answer all your points. The only change is that somebody ( BAC MGMNT?) said that all Captains now appropriately remunerated - well, the Shed F/O who was put in LHS on F/O pay may well have got that sorted by now - otherwise, I believe I have answered your points. On the pay and bonus front, as I said, sounds about right
Please advise if you have any other Q's

4th Jul 2002, 21:10
I think NSF has it exactly right. It all depends on what you want from life. As a late starter, who qualified in time for the last recession, it took me 4 years to crack ANY job where I didn't have to buy a type rating. It meant another 4 years before I was able to get into a jet job, and again start at the bottom. I also look at my younger colleagagues who commands in min time, and the best of luck to them. Do what's right for your circumstances, only you can decide that, but do remember what your goals are. And do make sure you enjoy yourself along the way. Any job is what you make it. And if it aint right or unsafe then walk and sort the paperwork later.
Footnote for RawData. The last time I spoke to your managers, they wanted a full conversion course and bond, if I was to join, despite 1000 PIC plus Line Trainer and last flown 8 months previously for one of your new turboprops and 800 hours PIC and last flown 2 years previous for the other. I declined.

Raw Data
4th Jul 2002, 22:34

Your post is a little unclear, are you saying you are Q400 rated and they still wanted to bond you? It is unclear what you had the 1000 PIC and 800 PIC on.

If not, you would have to do the course just like everybody else.

Two years off type is in any case usually a good reason to insist on a course. We as a company have had too many problems over the years with folk coming in type-rated who needed to be re-taught everything.

Whatever the case, what you are really seeing is the law of supply and demand. We have plenty of pilots, what shortage there is seems to be mostly on the jet fleets. We are currently taking Cabair cadets to fill some of those holes, and promoting internally to fill jet commands. When there is a surplus of crews, requirements go up, when there is a shortage, they go down.

And finally, a general comment- we see on this thread a little of the old PPRuNe wannabes mindset- some people seem to think that they somehow deserve a job and that companies should ease their path. Nothing could be further from the truth. You get ahead in aviation by 1) being good, 2) being dedicated and 3) doing everything in your power to increase your experience and skill level. Even if you do all that, the fact is that the cyclical nature of aviation means some very good people will wait a long time for their first job.

Aviation is a business, so of course airlines will take advantage of the times and adjust their hiring policy to suit. Some take all the advantage they can, by offering to allow you to buy a type rating (of dubious value) with the carrot of a job at the end. Some have even been known to tailor their course pass rate to match their crewing requirement- tough if you fail the course, which is a stigma that will follow you round in aviation circles.

That is the way the world is, nobody is likely to do you any favours, it is up to YOU to make yourself as employable as possible. This can be particularly hard if you are a "mature student" as there a plenty of very sharp 20 year olds looking for jobs.

Not wishing to sound downbeat, just trying to get a bit of reality in there amongst all the wannabe angst. Or maybe it's because I'm on an early in the morning... :D

5th Jul 2002, 11:44
Quite a few of us instructors at my flying club applied for the recent BAC self sponsership type rating. We all have between 1200-2000 hours and half of us have full UK atpl's (i.e. we recently unfroze them) and we were all turned down. Seems rather strange. "can I give you £11,000 for a typerating and job?" answer "No, sorry"
Mant theories as to why no positive response. One of those theories being that there was no job available. Perhaps they were just testing the water, and maybe even using the results as leverage against their own pilots who don't want to move up to scotland.

Anybody any ideas, and is there anybody out there who actually got a positive response?

5th Jul 2002, 11:56
Ummmmmm........could it mean they are going down the tubes?

You never can tell these days! :(

7th Jul 2002, 11:24

I seem to recall that Streamline Aviation have been charging for type ratings for years now and are they going down tube as well?

Just another way of making money for the BAC empire!!

Raw Data
7th Jul 2002, 14:33

How much multi time did you/they have? It could well be that they had a lot of interest from pilots with substantial multi time (ie air taxi guys etc).