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North America Still the busiest region for commercial aviation.

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Old 18th May 2015, 05:11   #1 (permalink)
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Any Suggestions in joining the regionals?

I'm currently flying a PC12 in Africa and planning to move back to the U.S. The question I have is, what are the best regionals in terms of pay, working condition, upgrade time and so on. I have about 3300 hrs total of which 2100 is PIC. I appreciate any suggestions.
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Old 20th May 2015, 01:13   #2 (permalink)
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Hi there,

as far as I know, Horizon Air (home base Seattle, WA) was one of the better regionals regarding pay and working conditions, at least in the past. Don't know about the current situation, but I believe they are probably still among the top regionals. Horizon Air is a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines.

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Good luck
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Old 20th May 2015, 02:21   #3 (permalink)
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You'd better ask at airlinepilotforums.
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Old 20th May 2015, 02:27   #4 (permalink)
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If you have a pulse, you can pick your poison (regional), stay away from 50 seater regionals, the cool thing now are 70 seaters
Good luck.
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Old 20th May 2015, 10:37   #5 (permalink)
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While none of the regionals are great I would suggest SkyWest as a starting point.
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Old 20th May 2015, 14:33   #6 (permalink)
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There are a few things to consider when going to a regional:

Base - are you planning on commuting or living in base? Much easier living in base, especially while on reserve

Upgrade time - do you need turbine PIC time to move on? (sounds like the OP doesn't, but this is an important question for anyone else reading this). Plus, once you upgrade, pay increases. Most people avoid companies with long upgrades

Future and stability of the company - will I be looking for a new job and start at the bottom of the seniority list in 4 years?

Pay and conditions/contract - speaks for itself

Note: many pilots are wary of fully owned regionals. Read about the history of Comair and then look at a company like Envoy and waht is happening to them.


Here is a list of the regionals and a couple observations. Obviously, you should do your own research and come up with your own decision:

Skywest - They operate close to 1800 flights a day for United, American/US Airways, Delta and Alaska. CRJ2/7/900s and E175s. They also have MRJ and E175-E2s on order. They are non-union and are giving hiring bonuses to anyone with a current CRJ type rating. Upgrade recently dropped to 4 years and still dropping. The company has 14 pilot bases located mostly west of the Mississippi. Overall considered a very good company with good pilot morale. The company is very stable and has never furloughed a pilot.

Republic/Shuttle America - Same company but two different operating certificates. Largest operator of Ejets (E175/E190) in the world. Also operate Q400s but all are slated to get parked. Shuttle America also operates E145s. There is a hiring bonus, but very long upgrade, various bases around the country and known for having one of the worst contracts in the regional industry. No cancellation pay for example. Unless they absolutely have a base where you want to live like MIA, most people would tell you to stay clear. There is a long thread about this company on another forum about how the wheels are coming off and the CEO is abandoning ship. There is a good hiring bonus though. The company has the Bombardier C Series on order, but they have admitted that it won't fit in any current scope clause. The company has approximately 60 flight cancellations a day due to lack of flight crews and overall net loss of pilots every month. Having said that, I know a couple guys flying there and they enjoy the flying.

Next 3 companies are all owned by parent company Trans States Holdings. TSH also has MRJs on order but there are issues with scope

TSA - All ERJ145 operator (aka all 50 seaters), expanding quickly and fast upgrades. Opening a DEN base, currently with a IAD and STL base. The company is receiving planes faster than they can hire pilots, and hiring faster than they can train pilots. $10,000 new hire bonus. Ok contract for a regional, but read my next statement about GoJet...

GoJet - Owned by Trans States Holdings. CRJ700 operator and the company was started by parent company TSH to undermind the pilot group at TSA. Considered to have one of the lesser desireable contracts and work conditions, although they have a hiring bonus and a fast upgrade.

Compass - Owned by Trans States Holdings. Expanding rapidly, mostly west coast flying, all E175s. Fast upgrade and relatively small company. Get hired quick before all the E175 deliveries or you will miss the quick upgrade boat. Considered one of the better regionals. You can plan on being LAX or MSP based initially.

Expressjet - Expressjet is owned by Skywest Inc (parent company of Skywest Airlines). The company was merged with ASA a few years ago. They operate CRJ2/7/900s and ERJ135/145. Very good contract but the future is uncertain, the concerns are related to Skywest Inc's plan for the company.

Endeavor - Fully owned regional by Delta Airlines. All CRJ2/900s, they had a long upgrade but now offer an $80,000 bonus paid out over 4 years and also a flowthrough agreement with Delta Airlines. As a result classes are full. Upgrade time is currently long but decreasing due to new hires and pilots flowing to Delta.

Next three companies are all owned by AAG (American Airlines Group)

Envoy - Fully owned regional by AAG. Losing lots of aircraft to other companies as parent company American decides to move the planes around. This used to be considered a really good company to work for (formerly known as American Eagle) but conditions have been deteriorating and the company has displaced their aircraft to other regionals. They will be acquiring E175s. Long upgrade... bases are ORD and DFW. Upgrade time is currently long and total number of pilots being decreased due to fleet displacement. Company has a flowthrough to American.

Piedmont - Fully owned regional by AAG. All 50 seaters, between older Dash8s and Emb145s from Envoy (to the dismay of Envoy pilots). They have a flow through to American but I heard it is quite a long wait and it is just a giant carrot on a stick to attract new pilots.

PSA - Fully owned by regional by AAG. CLT, DAY, and TYS bases, all CRJ2/7/900s. Quick upgrades but there are quite a few complaints and bashing of this airline on the other pilot forums. There are receiving Envoy's CRJs while getting rid of their CRJ200s but overall net gain of aircraft I believe. I think this is causing heartburn with Envoy pilots but now there is talk that the CRJs slated from Envoy will not be coming as quickly as planned. Also has an American flow agreement.

Be wary of the American flow agreements. Many pilots are saying that the way the flow works for these regionals will cause you to slow your progress to American. Read the details on other forums.

Mesa - All CRJ7/900 and E175s. CLT, PHX, IAD, DFW, and IAH bases. IAD base is being slowly closed down. DFW and IAH bases growing. Not the best contract and conditions, but many people have been flocking to Mesa due to rapid growth and expansion of the company (mainly due to receiving United E175 flying), which means quick upgrades.

Air Wisconsin - All CRJ200 company (aka all 50 seaters), US Airways flying with mostly East Coast bases. Known for having the best contract in the regional world. First year guys are grossing over $35,000 first year due to good contract rules, however they have a longerish upgrade and US Airways did not renew their contract, so Air Wisconsin exercised their option to extend for another 5 years. Long term future is questionable (mainly due to being all 50 seaters and no diversified flying).

Horizon - Q400 flying, pretty stable company. All flying is for Alaska Airlines so you will be based in the pacific northwest. Overall, I hear it is a good company, although upgrade times are quite long (8 years?)

Commutair - All 50 seaters. CLE and EWR bases. I don't know too much about them. Flying Q200/Q300

Silver Airways - Long upgrade, future uncertain. You will most likely be Florida based. They fly Saab turboprops.

Great Lakes - B1900 (many converted to part 135) and EMB120. You will be Denver based. Very quick upgrade, possible direct entry captain for you. Pay was just increased but still not on par with the rest of the industry. No pay during training. Lots of planes parked due to lack of crews and future is uncertain. I know several guys in this company and find the flying very fun and enjoyable but find the pay and conditions to be substandard. If you are considering them, I would only consider them if you can get Direct Entry Captain.


Last note: Today's go-to regional could be tomorrow's lame duck and vice versa. These regionals transform so fast it is pretty amazing. So any of the info on here could change tomorrow. Additionally, I tried to give the most accurate information possible, but I noticed a lot of the information has changed since I started keeping track a year ago. Please feel free to add or correct any info that I have posted.

Last edited by zondaracer; 20th Jul 2015 at 18:05.
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Old 20th May 2015, 15:59   #7 (permalink)
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zonda - nice overview.

Correction - Envoy flows to AA. Brain probably got the 'E' airlines mixed up.
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Old 20th May 2015, 16:23   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks. I fixed it. It was a brain fart as I typed everything out real fast.
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Old 25th May 2015, 08:39   #9 (permalink)
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Zondaracer, thanx a million for providing me with an insight of what goes on in the Regionals. I truly appreciate your detailed answer to my question.
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Old 3rd Jun 2015, 13:52   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks for the great overview! As someone who is reentering the aviation world after 8 years off, and zero time in the civilian world, I have little understanding of regionals, so this post was very timely for me.
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Old 18th Jun 2015, 20:01   #11 (permalink)
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Try Surf Air in California. They're the latest and greatest business model out here.
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Old 20th Jul 2015, 16:59   #12 (permalink)
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Compass Airlines

Hello everyone,
I have a class coming up with compass airlines, any information on training, systems, SOP, etc please advise.
Thank you
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Old 20th Jul 2015, 18:52   #13 (permalink)
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You will get more information on airlinepilotcentral.com for U.S. airlines.
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Old 15th Aug 2015, 14:33   #14 (permalink)
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Skywest's first year pay is now $30 an hour.
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Old 27th Aug 2015, 01:59   #15 (permalink)

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Any Suggestions in joining the regionals?

Zonda, I don't get on the boards much these days, but that's one of the better post replies I've come across in quite some time. (Seems accurate according to what I recall too.) Nice job.
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Old 23rd Sep 2015, 12:59   #16 (permalink)
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I'll add; after a 60 day job search, that everyone is hiring. APC has more information by far, but it can descend rapidly into long held dispute.
There are 3 camps; i believe. Some carriers will thrive & grow; perhaps substantially. PErhaps a couplE will morph into more 'national' carriers with E175's & 195's -effectively 'C Payscale' majors (or perhaps be completely swallowed by the majors; the upshot for employees is the same..)
Some will fail completely or consolidate and become true Regional airlines with 50 seat hops; like it was 10-15 years ago. Folks still need to travel to Peoria :-)
pay is increasing, travel benefits can be excelent (Envoy) to very good (Endeavor) to hit & miss (do the math!)
Look at APC, (read first before asking questions!)
Get your paperwork in order. You will be filling in forms until your fingers bleed. Make sure everything is accurate and the numbers all work.
ATP/ATP mins; FCC license, First Class Medical (with >60 days left to run)
Work history, residence history, Credit et al. Ask your previous bosses to expect and return a questionnaire.
If you have any black marks against you: (DUI, Criminal et al) Disclose it. They will find out. You will be walked out of class and sent home.
Read the Gouges; they're generally spot on. i interviewed at 3 airlines; Clearly they only interview prescreened pilots, most people who showed up were offered on the day.
Everyone talks about 'the Lost Decade' -it's closer to 15 years; but things are picking up; and the next generation of 70-90 seat aircraft are established and arriving. It may be the best time ever to join a regional in the US; but don't expect the Bank Manager to agree for a while!
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Old 10th Nov 2015, 12:52   #17 (permalink)
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This an interesting twist if UAL is a goal:


And this one for the low time people. They don't reveal how they intend to get 500 hour pilots up to ATP flight times:

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Old 12th Nov 2015, 12:50   #18 (permalink)
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CapPC12, with your hours, don't waste your time with the Regionals, try Jet Blue, Spirit, Southwest, Netjets, Flexjets, Virgin.
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Old 12th Nov 2015, 13:38   #19 (permalink)
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CapPC12, with your hours, don't waste your time with the Regionals, try Jet Blue, Spirit, Southwest, Netjets, Flexjets, Virgin.
Not if most of his time and all of his PIC time is SE Turbine...

I have about 3300 hrs total of which 2100 is PIC
SouthWest requires > 1500 hrs Turbo jet + 737 type
Jetblue requires > 1000hrs PIC turbojet
And so on....
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Old 12th Nov 2015, 18:26   #20 (permalink)
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Southwest dropped the type requirement the first part of this year.
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