Crew Leasing FAQs

Flight Crew leasing is a win-win situation for both the airline and the flight crewmember.

If you are not familiar with the crew leasing sector of aviation, here are some of the most Frequently Asked Questions.

What is the interview process like?
The interview process varies according to the preferences of each airline.  However, in general, the interview process is very similar to what you’ve probably experienced before.  There will be a vacancy announcement.  Applicants meeting the specified criteria will be pre-screened.  Desired candidates will then be invited to a formal interview.  This usually consists of airman knowledge testing, a personal interview, and a simulator evaluation.  Once the candidate successfully completes this portion of the interview they are sent for a medical screening.

What is the training duration?
The duration of training varies with each airline. In some cases the duration can be as long as eight months.

Where is the training done?
The location varies too with the airline.  There are airlines throughout the world using crew leasing services. In most cases the training takes place in a location different from where the crewmember lives.  Usually, the airline will provide periodic travel for each trainee to/from their home.

What does ‘Contract Flying’ really mean?
Contract Flying simply means that the crewmember is employed by the crew leasing company but they fly under the airline’s operating certificate using the airline’s aircraft.  The crewmembers are ‘leased’ to the airline by the leasing company.  Essentially, this simply means that you fly the airline’s planes but you get your pay and benefits from and through the crew leasing company.

Who should consider contract flying?
All crewmembers should consider crew leasing.  There are some real advantages to flying under contract.  The key is to learn as much as you can about the terms of the contract (pay, benefits, contract duration, domicile location, commuting allowances, training location and duration, scheduling method, guaranteed days off, sick leave, upgrade opportunities, disability benefits, etc.).  Try to locate crewmembers already flying for that same airline.  Learn about the airline’s history, financial strength, growth plans, fleet size, aircraft orders, etc. It’s only after you have all of the relevant facts that you’ll be able to make a decision as to whether a contract flying job is right for you.

What are the advantages of contract flying?

  • The crewmember has job security for the duration of the contract.
  • Several airlines that use crew leasing services offer a contract completion bonus.
  • Some airlines utilizing crew leasing services offer travel reimbursement or positive space seating when crewmembers commute between their home and domicile.
  • Crewmembers choosing to live in international (non-U.S.) domiciles may be alleviated of having to pay U.S. Federal Income Taxes. (Consult with your tax advisor about your specific situation).

How do I know the airline will renew my contract?
Usually, it is very rare for an airline to not renew a crewmember’s contract.  The reality of the situation is that the airline has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to interview and train each crewmember.  They do not want to incur the additional expense of finding replacements.  Of course, crewmembers exercising poor work ethics, illegal activities, not complying with the terms of their contract, or other rare circumstances may not be offered a follow-up contract upon contract completion.

How does renewal work?
The renewal process is seamless.  Usually with a few months of contract completion, you will be offered the opportunity to renew (usually for the same duration as with the previous contract).  You then simply complete and sign the forms for the new contract.  This new contract will take effect immediately upon the completion of the previous contract.  For example, this could happen in the middle of a trip without any disruption of duty to you or the airline.

What are the DISadvantages?
As with all jobs, there are drawbacks.  Usually, the biggest drawback is the training duration. In certain cases the training can last upwards of six or eight months at a training facility located in a foreign country.  This can result in you being separated for several weeks at a time from your home and family.  As stated above, the key in deciding if a contract flying job is right for you is to learn as much as you can about the terms of the contract, the working conditions, and the airline itself.

As always, please feel free contact us anytime.  We are more than happy to discuss with flight crew leasing opportunities.