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Express I ?'s

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Well-known member
Nov 29, 2001
Can anyone flying for them, (Pinicale)sp?, give me some info on the company and the new changes. Also, where do I submit my resume?

What are upgrade times running now?
Junior bases?
Are they currently hiring?

Thanks for all the help...

Right now we are accepting resumes. They are still targeting people that can upgrade quickly. Junior base is DTW. Company is slowly changing its altitude as the IPO approaches. New hire class is going on right now. There still is a pool of 200 or so people. The numbers on performance (ASMs, RSMs, LF) keep rising quarter over quarter. Worth looking into.
What are upgrade times running now?
Junior bases?
Are they currently hiring?

Not really any changes with the new company name and after being here for a couple years I would only recommend this place to the very desperate.

We are supposed to be takeing 2 crj's/month and we are turning over 2 saabs/month to Mesaba. Due to the strike at bombardier we aren't taking crj's but we are still giving away saabs. Plans were for a fleet of 52 CRJ's by the end of the year but we had 52 aircraft in the saab/crj fleet at the end of last year so there really isn't much growth regardless of what Mesaba guys say.

I'm told that we are currently hiring out of our pool and when we are done with that we are bringing in a whole bunch of Gulfstream guys. I don't think we will see anyone from off the street until next year but I could be wrong. The lowest mins are 1200/200 but until you have 1500/300 you will be paying a $10,000 contract which is repaid over the first 30 months of employment (interest free of coarse).

Our pay is at the trailing edge of what regional airlines are being paid these days with few work rules that help compensate for that. Constant nickle and dimeing from management doesn't help either. We still have three years left on our current contract so things aren't going to get better any time soon.

MEM is by far the most senior captain base, DTW and MSP are about that same. MSP is the most senior FO base followed by MEM then DTW.

Mins for making upgrade in the crj are 3500 tt, (or 3000 with 500 hours in the right seat) this has been making upgrade tough for many of the fo's in the company. Lately the most junior upgrades have been going in the low 300's on a seniority list of just under 500 but this could change back to only needing 3500 hours and a pulse to qualify for upgrade at any time. We do have nearly 70 captains still in the Saab and that could put a damper on upgrades when they all get displaced out but we'll see.

Our HR department does a great job of selling this place as the greatest thing since sliced bread but everyone I have talked to has expressed disappointment in what this place is actually like, including myself. Express I/Pinnacle Airlines is a 2nd tier regional airline, don't expect anything more.

If your still interested you can go to www.nwairlink.com and follow the employment links.
I second DoinTime

We have utilized most of our pool of 200,
we have several classes of GIA guys coming over presently. Estimate is looking to the street in September at the earliest.

Washout rate for the CRJ was a high of 75% in Feb and is holding 20-30% currently. I do not know how many of the transistion guys are washing out, but I have heard the higher number are new hire's.

lines... Generally speaking a Captain over the low 200's in senority are looking at reserve. Fo's over the low 400's are looking at reserve. Line growth is maybe 1-2 lines per month. Transistion growth to each base are averaging 6 or more per base and per seat. Bottom line... Some low 200 Captains are getting bumped off lines to reserve. Fo's are going further down the list as the transistions come over. A new hire FO in the Jet will probably be looking at 8 months or better on reserve.

Quick upgrade will be for only those holding lines and getting the 500 hours in type and that would equal about 8 months. Many high senority FO's have the time, just not the time in type, expect a rush to upgrade if and when reserve's get more than 10hrs a month of flying.

HR department... Best bunch of salespeople you will ever run into! They are by far the BEST I have ever witnessed. Ask any of the last 50 or so CRJ's FO's hired and they should all agree.

Junior bases.... MEM is still senior but I have saw a few in the 500's get in for FO's. For Captains... MEM is real senior and will never change.

DTW and MSP are about even, a mix of some senior and junior people, it varies from month to month as there are a lot of base switching going on lately.

Growth... they claim it is coming, but the math still say's we will be at (hopefully) 54 aircraft come x-mas, the real growth (if any) will be next year up to the 84 aircraft we "should" get. New routes appear and some old ones are taken away so route for route there is "some" growth in the Jet. When all of the Saab's are gone though we are not getting routes to replace the Saab flying (yet). I guess we will see if there is any growth at the end of the rainbow promised to us by HR.

Final statement, unless you live in MEM, MSP or DTW... I would seriously look at all of yor choices BEFORE settling down here.
You don't need any time in type to upgradein the CRJ. You need 3500TT and 2000ME. IF you have time in type, those times can be reduced by 500 hours.

As far as the company goes, it's about the same as all of the other regionals out there. Just understand that pilots love to complain. If you talk to pilots at other regionals, they will have the same gripes, low pay, bad schedules, etc. I say it no better or no worse than most of the others. With pilots oin the street a flying job is better than no flying job.

Granted there are things that could be done to make it better, I am thankful to have a job.

If you get offered the job, take it.
I have never heard of upgrade times that hi anywhere else. Most regionals don't have upgrade times. If they do it is just time in type or something a bit more reasonable like 2000 TT. -Bean
I'll second that. The upgrade requirements are absolutely ridiculous. I've never heard of that at any other place except Express 1. There are a ton of qualified CRJ FOs who can't upgrade because of it too. And it totally screws up the seniority system. I believe the chief pilot at this place is behind the whole masquerade. Unfortunately the ALPA here is too weak to stand up and do anything about it. But it should be changed.
I will second some of the additional comments...

Express I does fall into the general category of regionals. While pilots do love to complain about anything and everything it is still not an excuse for some of the stuff that goes on at EXA.

Also note that most of the "newer" pilot group came from other companies, and we can compare.

In that aspect it is culture shock, EXA does some things that almost goes against all of the rules. If your at another regional I would consider staying put, if you have the time and want to take a chance on coming for a "quick" upgrade then you really have nothing to lose. If you are like most of us in the 2000-2500 range you will be looking at 8-12 months reserve then the time to get to 3000... If you can handle the reserve and the chance that you may be sittting waiting for senority to get you to the left seat then it's your choice.

I personally do not think the upgrade times will be dropping anytime soon, especially with the bulk of the FO's in the 2000-3000 range. The other issue will be how many Captains we will actually need when we finally get all 84 jets'... I have heard numbers of about 450 Captains... Right now we have 500 on the line, so do can do the math on how it "may" look in a year or more...

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