New Pilots

WestJet B737NG First Officer

Pilot's Blog

Pilot Details
Company WestJet Airlines
Based in Calgary
Age 28
Gender Male
Pilot's Blog

I began my career with Westjet in the fall of 2004. I was hired at 26 with 4800 hours TT. Most of my time was multi pic with a large portion of that on the Beechcraft 1900D. I found the key to getting the job was first to get the interview, which required alot of networking and calling up "old friends" and eventually getting a few internal recommends. The interview process has since changed, so it would be best to get as much information about the new process as possible.

My training on the Boeing 737 NG (Next Generation) consisted of 3 weeks of ground school and fixed based trainer (for SOPS and Flows). Six 4 hour full simulator sessions and a flight test. I found the training to be very organized and relaxed although there is a lot of information to digest in a short time frame.

After I completed my line indoc and line check (very relaxed) I was on the roster as a full time 737 F/O. Monthly schedules are created on the 20th of the month prior and are based on your bidding preferences. There is no senority for bidding, the program tries to optimize everybodies schedule. Believe it or not I have very rarely not gotten every day off I have requested! If you keep it simple it works well, but if you choose to lounge by the pool with a margarita you can bid cancun overnights or Fort MacMurray overnights or anywhere in between. Most parings are 4 days in duration and you will find with the new contract that you will be working max 15 days per month up to 85 hours. Starting pay is 40K first year (plus 5k stock option and optional 20% for Employee share program) 50K second year (plus above) and 3rd year it jumps to base of 75K (plus above) but most guys T4s will show close to 95K for 3rd year after all the extras.

Despite the quick 2 year upgrades in the past, look for longer time in the right seat. As it is impossible to forecast the upgrade times, most realistic views from my piers at Westjet are pointing to around 5 years from date of hire. Good medical plan and travel benefits with the ability to live anywhere your stress threshold will allow (commuters will understand!). Many pilots living in BC and all the major prairie cities.

Good luck with your career; network often and always be prepared when your phone rings with that interviw date! Look forward to seeing you on the line.

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