If you're after an exciting job flying throughout Europe on a diverse route network in modern jet equipment, with a company that offers excellent opportunities, then easyJet is it.
But.....and its a big but, be prepared to work!!!
I joined easyJet as a First Officer in January 2001, initially on the B737-300. I came from flying Dash 8-300 aircraft and was pleased to find that the EFIS and other advanced systems on the Dash made the transition to the 73 a 'little' easier. At the time I joined easyJet the company had started to take delivery of its first B737-700's and within 9 months I found myself on a short differences course allowing me to fly both the -300 and -700 (NG) variants.
I obtained my command in June 2004 with less than 5000 hours in the book, so as you can see, if you keep your head down and your nose out of trouble, the opportunities really are there!
easyJet now operates a mixed fleet of Boeing (737) and Airbus (A319). The company continues to take delivery of brand new aircraft at an alarming rate (up to 3 per month at one point), however the 737 deliveries are just about complete so currently there are few opportunities to grab yourself a slot on a Boeing course! However, if you don't mind flying the 'Bus', the company will continue to recruit for the foreseeable future. But, don't be fooled by the companies high requirement to hire pilots. Even when you're through the frustrating process of securing yourself an interview date, you really will need to get stuck into the books to get through the selection process. There's no doubt that the company need pilots, but they are still determine to get the right person for the job. So if you think that you'll be hired just because they need guys and you happen to meet the minimum requirements, then think again.
easyJet have adopted a self sponsorship scheme for most of their new joiners so don't be surprised if you are told you'll need to fund you're own type rating. I'm not exactly sure of all of the details but basically the company will provide you with documentation to assist you in securing a personal loan to cover the cost of the conversion course. For the next 'x' number of years the company will then pay you a reduced salary and will fund the repayments of your loan on your behalf. Issues that need to be carefully reviewed when considering this type of finance include: a) Will the company repayments be sufficient to repay not only the capital, but also the interest on the loan? b) Am I able to make my own personal contributions (monthly or lump sum) to the company repayments and if so, will the bank apply any penalty charges? c) How long will the company take to repay the full amount? This type of financial arrangement m eans that you no longer have a bond agreement with the airline, merely a personal loan commitment to meet should you leave the company prior to the loan being fully repaid.
Once you are through the selection you will find easyJet train their pilots to a very high standard. Despite the general public perception that everything about the low cost sector must be 'low cost', there is certainly no cost cutting when it comes to training. In fact, easyJet are very well respected throughout the industry for not only the high standards they train their pilots to, but also the consistently high standard they maintain their pilots at.
When it comes to flying the line the job really comes into its own. Flying some of the youngest aircraft through some of the busiest airspace in the world in some extremely challenging weather conditions makes this a fantastic job. A 'typical' day out consists of anywhere between 2 and 6 sectors, all with a turn around time of 20-25 minutes. So needless to say you're busy, very busy and by the end of the day ready to head home. Also easyJet operates a 5 on (mornings) 2 days OFF, 5 on (Afternoon/Evenings), 4 days OFF work pattern. This cycle replaced the old 6 on 3 off pattern in early 2005 following a comprehensive study in fatigue levels amongst flight crew. Feelings about the 5-2-5-4 roster amongst the crew are mixed, however I think most would agree that it has gone someway towards reducing fatigue.
The guys and gals you meet and fly with at easyJet are spot on (this can probably be attributed to the companies stringent selection process) and really make the long days much easier to get through. You will certainly make some very good friends and if you so desire lead quite a 'social lifestyle' while being an easyJet employee.
Overall, I would highly recommend easyJet to any young ambitious pilot who is looking for maximum hours in a demanding and very rewarding environment. However, be prepared to work and work hard.
I hope this has given you a brief insight into what easyJet is all about and I wish you well if you choose to give life on the 'Orange side' a go!!
Good Luck to you!
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