Hundreds of trained pilots and cabin crew have applied for five jobs on a private jet, as the country’s aviation industry is still flooded with unemployed professionals.
Late last year, more than 200 pilots signed up for three positions flying the new Bombardier Challenger 604 Garden City Helicopter Aviation (GCH Aviation).
The company recently posted ads for two flight attendants and several hundred people signed up.
Garden City Helicopters CEO Simon Duncan said the response has been huge.
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Many applicants were fired during the restructuring after Covid-19 halted international air traffic, he said.
“We know some people do things like work on ferries and stuff like that. They are quite skilled. «
A year after Virgin Australia halted its operations in New Zealand, former Boeing 737 captain Mike Kenyon works in civil aviation maintenance and management at a helicopter company in Taupō while writing small instructions.
“I’m still actively looking for jobs that don’t seem to exist.”
He was aware of the private jet service in Christchurch, but did not apply as he knew they would be heavily challenged as other candidates had more experience with the type of aircraft.
After recovering from the initial shock of the surplus, it took him six months to find a regular job.
He hoped to return to the flight he was passionate about, but progress on any travel balloon in New Zealand has been glacial.
“The rest of the country seems to be advancing at a rapid pace, while aviation and tourism are just stuck.”
President of the NZ Air Line Pilots Association Andrew Ridling estimated that more than 1,000 pilots in New Zealand were laid off, including about 600 pilots of major airlines.
As he said, there may be another 600 from tourism and helicopter companies.
“It’s not just a New Zealand problem, but a worldwide problem.”
He learned last week that there are 10,000 unemployed pilots in Europe alone.
In New Zealand, many pilots were employed in machines or trucks, but there was a big drop in skill and income levels.
Many were unaware of how badly Covid-19 had hit the industry.
“One month it flourished, and the next month it was extinguished – no different from tourism.”
Although there has been talk of a Tasmanian travel balloon being more likely, the future remains uncertain for those looking to continue in the industry, he said.
“Will people travel? Will they be allowed to travel? There are so many things in the air right now. “
Aviation spokesman E Tū Union Savage said thousands of airline workers had lost their jobs due to the global pandemic and probably around 2,000 cabin crew members in New Zealand.
Savage said the travel bubble gives some hope to cabin crew who wanted to stay in the industry, especially Air New Zealand workers, who were provided with the first crack in their new jobs.
JASON DORDAY / STUFF
Sarah Jones, a former Air New Zealand flight attendant, will soon begin her fourth job in a year.
GCH Aviation Marketing Manager Caroline Blanchfield said the company is still examining applications for cabin crew.
Earlier this year, three pilots were appointed to travel to Texas for specialized training.
The company began its first charter flight in July last year and was looking for more staff as it became increasingly busy.
It was used mostly on domestic routes when people wanted to move quickly, for example Christchurch to Napier, which would usually take two days to get back and forth on major airlines.
“In one day we have a person back and forth.”
Staff on private jets had to have very specific training, she said.
Duncan said many candidates for these positions, despite working for airlines and in first class, did not have the necessary knowledge.
They needed to be trained in the safety features of a particular aircraft and require a high level of customer service and confidentiality.
The company is considering expanding its fleet of private jets with growing demand for destinations such as Australia and Fiji when they introduced Covid-19 vaccines.