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Ab Initio Smart Lynx & BAA

Old 3rd Dec 2020, 16:49
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Ab Initio Smart Lynx & BAA

Hi Guys,

I saw that SmartLynx is still screening candidates for their integrated ATPL with BAA in February.
Would you recommend to do the SL Ab Initio course with BAA? To my knowledge this is one out of two airlines in whole Europe which currently hires new students for their courses.
It would start in February and cost 110.00.

What do you guys think? Anyone experience with this program?
Thanks for your feedback!
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Old 4th Dec 2020, 08:31
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I believe their most recent hired cadets are stuck in limbo contracted to the company with no start date yet and no income from the company despite completing type rating.

Don't waste your money, pilot training is not worth 110k.
Negan is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2020, 13:26
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it is an absolute scam, stay away
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Old 6th Dec 2020, 17:15
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Wow that does not sound good..
Would you recommend to do the program in normal times? The initial project mgrs told me if being successful one would get a letter of engagement guaranteeing a place as FO at SL.
I am not aware of any other airline looking for cadets in Europe and the rest of the world currently
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 09:55
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smart lynx is generally a risky airline
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 18:58
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User1245783565

Just use some common sense. Smartlynx is a capacity provider for other airlines and travel agencies. Other airlines have plenty of their own capacity for the near future due to the pandemic, and travel agencies are also not exactly filling many planes for the same reason. Several of their aircraft are in storage, the rest is not flying much. So they have plenty of extra crew as well. Plus whatever was already in the BAA program with “guaranteed” positions as FO.

Now consider how good your chances are when recovery of aviation is not expected to go in leaps and bounds and there is plenty of experienced, rated crew on the market as well.

Last edited by Intrance; 8th Dec 2020 at 02:38.
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 20:26
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The part of Smartlynx which provides extra capacity to airlines will be idling until summer 2022 even in the most optimistic scenario, I think. No airline will need additional capacity this year or next year, even if we see the end of the public health crisis and a normalisation of travel rules by this time next year.

What's left then? The two freshly converted A321 freighters, some flights for tour agencies in Latvia and Estonia (if demand is high enough to justify a full charter flight instead of just blocking some seats on a scheduled one) and some ad-hoc work here and there. Not much. Hence, I doubt that they'll offer the same number of pilot jobs as in 2019 for a good couple of years, let alone expand on that. May I be proved wrong on this one though.

Also, do bear in mind that in previous years one-year renewable agency contracts with up to two months of mandatory unpaid leave in the winter were the norm with Smartlynx. I'm not saying that an open-term job contract would add a lot of job security these days, but at least it will make your life easier when applying for a loan, a mortgage or a lease purchase of a car.
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Old 8th Dec 2020, 14:37
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Thank you very much for your feedback guys!
The remaining question for me then is: why would they hire cadet pilots right now when they don’t expect demand over the next few years? I mean SL does not earn any money with the students
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Old 8th Dec 2020, 17:07
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I would highly recommend to stay away from SmartLynx/BAA. I know many people in this airline who are on unpaid leave for most part of the year already, whereas a great many were fired. Company desperately needs money, and will feed you any BS regarding future job prospects to lure you in.
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Old 8th Dec 2020, 21:40
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User1245783565

I'm not so sure they don't earn anything out of the type rating. I can recall someone quoting €30,000 per participant for a course in an Eastern European ATO. And, in that part of the world, you can consider yourself robbed if you're made to pay more than €17-20,000 for a space on an A320 course.

Can anyone confirm or deny if that's still the price they're asking for? Also, there were some advertisements for TRI courses with Smartlynx ATO over the summer. Probably also not out of charity?
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Old 9th Dec 2020, 14:35
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@PilotLZ

You are right, 30.000 is still the price tag for A320 TR at SL ATO

But there is no other Chance in Europe currently..
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Old 9th Dec 2020, 17:03
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How much of a realistic chance is this programme, given that most of their rated and experienced pilots have been sacked and the company is likely to emerge out of the crisis a lot smaller than it was (if it does at all)? Despair for cash to stay afloat brings on lots and lots of exotic ideas, including this one:

https://www.eurocockpit.be/news/hall...during-covid19

SmartLynx promotes among its pilots a new scheme tailored to experienced pilots who are currently not flying due to the COVID crisis. The scheme requires them to pay up 1000 EUR for sim training & a license proficiency check, a cost commonly covered by the employer. In return the airline promises to reserve a spot for them as a “first choice for standby crew”. The means pilots are asked to self-fund their recurrent training in order to qualify for the standby list, but with no certainty they’d be called in for flying.
Training is a cash cow in itself. The question is, what comes after it?
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Old 9th Dec 2020, 20:07
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@PilotLZ

Oh wow, I tend more and more not to do the program. In your opinion, are there currently other open programs in Europe?
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Old 9th Dec 2020, 20:09
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Sod all as my mate found out, told him not to but he did a self sponsored a320 TR with them not too long ago and he hasn't a job nor even a sniff at one. Imho the level of insanity signing up for this 'opportunity' should disqualify you from a Class 1 and instead offer you a stint in a mental asylum.
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Old 9th Dec 2020, 21:46
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People like that are the reason we have such bad terms and conditions in Europe
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Old 10th Dec 2020, 13:37
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@ollie135

Was your friend also enrolled in the SL cadet program?
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Old 10th Dec 2020, 17:05
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Not sure, he was on a scheme where he paid for a TR with the promise of being employed later but that never happened and so he wasted his money
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Old 10th Dec 2020, 23:02
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It could help to establish some facts. This smartlynx/BAA offer is not pay2fly. That is where you pay for your line training and then a block of hours, 500 or whatever with no pay and then you are done. That isn't what this programme is. You pay for your type rating and then roll into employment with smartlynx - much the same across the rest of Europe. Yes they aren't offering jobs to recent or present graduates - who is right now?? Whether or not you go for it is entirely up to you and how you see aviation panning out over the next 2 years but be sure you actually understand what it is you are accepting/rejecting first.

@ollie sounds like your friend didn't do this BAA/SLX programme, rather he simply did his A320 type rating with them. For that they make it clear that employment is offered only when a need arises. He just got unlucky with C19 being about. Again though, who hasn't?
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Old 11th Dec 2020, 12:39
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I did a self sponsored TR with them in 2019. However, before signing in I was offered employment with the condition ill be rated before day one of OCC. The cost of the TR together with base training was 17k €. Now on BAA page they ofer the TR with base training and 1 free TR revalidation for less than that. So 30k € for a TR with "job promise" which will never happen or maybe they will hire you without fixed salary and giving you 0 h is pure scam. You cannot also predict if SL will be alive when u finish ur training - see what happened for example with LH cadets, Lufthansa being much bigger and stable airline.

Also u need to remember, that if u do a "reccurent + OPC" for your money, without flying after that after 90 days you will be facing the need of doing another sim as your proficiency will expire and so one every 3 months.

IMHO enroling now in any "premium price, fast track" integrated training is madness. Only option i would consider now is doing modular, do the PPL, ATPL theory and slowly building hours. If the market improves to a level cadets will be hire again finishing CPL, IR and ME will take a few months or even less without insane debt and paying up front.
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Old 17th Dec 2020, 13:39
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I am still struggling whether to do this program or not 😥
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