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What is the outlook down under?

Old 16th Dec 2015, 12:22
  #1 (permalink)  
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What is the outlook down under?


I'm a 737 driver in my mid-thirties, FO hopefully going soon to LHS, total of around 3000h. Currently UK based. My missus is Australian and we are considering shifting ourselves permanently down under at some point. I was wondering if I could get an honest opinion on what the industry is like there and the prospects of me being able to get some kind of a pilot job, as I will be the main provider. Obviously I check the recruitment sites and see there is not much movement currently but would welcome some insight on what it has been like recently, whether things are likely to change and in general how difficult would it be for someone in my position to gain employment there in the airline industry?

Thanks a lot
DarkSoldier is offline  
Old 16th Dec 2015, 12:42
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Anything is possible, and hopefully the future may be more positive.

But be prepared for a megaton of negativity on this site in response to your question.
Runaway Gun is offline  
Old 16th Dec 2015, 20:50
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I will try to be not too negative!

The only company of any substance that appears to be currently recruiting is Cobham.
Most of the smaller Aussie outfits are very dependant on mining contracts, and right now mining is in the doldrums, so there is not much security with these operators.
Mid thirties with 3000 hours is not seen here as being very experienced - even though you and I are aware that 3000 hours in Europe is worth a lot more than 6000 hours in Australia's generally benign weather.
Sometimes you see corporate jet jobs advertised, but this is very much an old boys' network, so difficult to crack.
Your competition will always be cashed up wide body Captains who have had enough of being in Asia or the Mid East and want to come home.

If you are close to command where you are, perhaps it would be better to hang in there and rack up another 1000 hours of LHS. Cobham will always be there and when the mining business picks up you could get a DEC with one of the other operators.
Mach E Avelli is offline  
Old 16th Dec 2015, 22:49
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Qantas has 737 800's and Virgin Australia 700's and 800's so worth sending a CV to those.
ChrisJ800 is offline  
Old 17th Dec 2015, 01:50
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Not much point 'sending your CV' to Qantas!
Cloud Cutter is offline  
Old 17th Dec 2015, 03:50
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All licenced operators are required to put in place a Fatigue Management System for pilots. Under the ever changing reform of regulations, I believe the latest date for this to be in place is Oct 2016.

However, from what I learned at the CASA workshop, and have since read, I believe that the FMS will limit duty hours (as a very rough guide, my understanding is that duty time will start when you wake up - the last rest opportunity). The FMS will limit flight times, as your available flight time will depend on what time you clock on (start early in the day, say 4am, and I understand that the flight time is reduced in accordance with the body's circadian rhythms). Also, crossing time zones will increase the rest time required between tour of duties.

If this goes ahead as described (and your guess is as good as mine on that one) then I think this will create movement in the industry. It is my opinion that operators will either have to shed routes, or hire more staff to service their current routes under the FMS restrictions.

My 2 cents worth
outnabout is offline  
Old 17th Dec 2015, 07:40
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If you want to come to our little fishbowl, I disagree with waiting to get your command, I can 99% guarantee you won't get a DEC 737 here although you may jag one with Toll, that said Toll like most operators here is a boys club. Best to try and get here ASAP, inevitably to start at the bottom of some very large seniority list, and wait your time. Cobham do occasionally take DECs (boys club), and the only other one I can think of in recent times is Network (QF subsidiary). Virgin, Jetstar, Qantas, Tiger, all seniority based. Alliance I am not sure but pretty sure without F100 time a DEC would be a no. Other than that there are the Tprop operators, depends how desperate you are and how you go living on peanuts.
Good Luck!
airdualbleedfault is offline  
Old 17th Dec 2015, 08:11
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3000hrs is about what you need for Turbo Prop command here, with at least 1500hrs on the turbo prop and 3+ years seniority. Not sure what the weather is like in the EU, but yesterday Sydney had a tornado, and an 800km long squall line topping out at 45k is a weakly event this time of year. On the bright side, it doesn't snow much.
rmcdonal is offline  
Old 17th Dec 2015, 09:45
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Outnabout, the FRMS stuff has been delayed a year at least.

Virgin operate on a FRMS and have done since 2007 (from memory), so the casa rules won't make a huge difference - potentially - depending on what the actual rules turn out to be...what is proposed and what finally hits the streets are often vastly different.
Snakecharma is offline  
Old 17th Dec 2015, 13:45
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Don't forget that even if you have lots of good hours when applying for any suitable pilot position you can fall flat on your face at some of these ridiculous general aptitude tests so beloved by most organisations. A lot of good pilots have missed out despite being current and well qualified yet failed (for example) the dreaded abstract reasoning aptitude test.
Centaurus is offline  
Old 17th Dec 2015, 21:08
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Do you have any command time or is it all FO?

From experience, if you only have FO jet time you won't even get an interview (currently as the industry stands). There will literally be turboprop pilots getting interviews and jobs before you because you don't have the precious "command" hours. In addition to this, no turboprop operator will hire you in the current market. They will take piston bush pilots with multi engine command over you.

I know it's rubbish, but please do yourself a favour and get around 1000 hrs command otherwise you won't get a look in and will be wasting your time.

Good luck!
lemel is offline  
Old 18th Dec 2015, 00:43
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3000 hours FO time on 737 won't be very competitive.

Your competition for jobs will be regional captains with about that in turboprop command time.

Command time is good. Get into the left seat and take a contract job in Asia while you're trying to break the local market. Qantas will be hiring 2016/2017. As will Jetstar and Virgin Australia. That's the main game career stuff. The rest is resource stuff that will never really be as secure employment.

There is loads of stuff in Asia that is easily commutable to Australia. If you get a job at lion air, with 3000 hours you'll be appointed the chief pilot
The Green Goblin is offline  
Old 23rd Dec 2015, 20:21
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thanks for all the replies - some very useful info there. As far as I see it, with not much recruitment going on in the major carriers, the opportunities there could be quite limited. Whilst ideally I would like to get in them ASAP to get on the seniority list, realistically that may not be an option for the time being. So it could be that I have to try some of the smaller operators and hope for the best.

With the time it would take to get the licence conversion and sort out the right to work there, we are probably looking at another couple of years or so before I am even in a position to apply so by then I should hopefully have 500-1000h command and take my total up to 4-5,000h which will hopefully help that little bit.
DarkSoldier is offline  
Old 23rd Dec 2015, 21:09
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Sorry to rain on your parade but you only need to look at the number of Australian pilots working overseas to get an idea of your employment prospects.

Whilst a B737 may be an entry level jet in much of the world, in Australia it's near the top of the pyramid. Trying for such a job on arrival with any chance of success would require either another 1989 pilots strike or a new start up airline looking for experienced crew, even then you would be up against those wanting to return home from Asia or the Middle East.

Many jobs require you to have at least two renewals on your instrument rating and 500 hours multi command.

Even if you got into Virgin against all the other applicants with local experience and friends in the company, you will be waiting over 10 years for an upgrade. Supporting a family in an Australian city on S/O or F/O wages will require a second job or a working wife.

If you are going LHS soon stay where you are and in two years you can get a DEC job in Asia or the Middle East and use you staff travel to holiday in Australia or commute if the job will permit (Korean Air/China Southern).

Once you have saved enough money, retire in Australia.
Metro man is offline  
Old 23rd Dec 2015, 22:51
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Second job on FO wages metro man?

That's a bit of an exaggeration. The FOs in this country in the majors are netting at least 8-10k a month in their hand.
The Green Goblin is offline  
Old 23rd Dec 2015, 22:52
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Second job on FO wages metro man?

That's a bit of an exaggeration. The FOs in this country on narrow bodies in the majors are netting at least 8-10k a month in their hand.
The Green Goblin is offline  
Old 24th Dec 2015, 02:59
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I'll jump on board. If you can't afford to live in a capital city on an Australian airline FO wage, maybe you should think about trading in the second BMW, selling the jetski, or moving away from Mosman or Toorak.

Unless you're just taking the piss, in which case, well done.
wishiwasupthere is online now  
Old 24th Dec 2015, 04:07
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He's in his mid 30s so may have children or be looking at starting a family in the near future. Brisbane base requires seniority and won't be available for new joiners. S/O or Ejet F/O wages more likely than B737 F/O, heaven forbid he ends up on turboprop money.

Australia has one of the worst rates in the world for housing affordability. Try living in Sydney with a family on $2000/week. Moving, set up costs and licence conversion won't be cheap.

An established F/O with QF/Virgin who has a house in his name already is in a different situation as is a single 25 year old S/O.
Metro man is offline  

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