I spoke to someone in Flexjet's Dallas office in April, sent him my resume in May, and was told yesterday he was laid off with several others.
Did they lay off pilots or just admin. type office people? I read a lot about Flight Options and Executive Jet here. Why isn't there any talk about Flexjet? Are they that good or that bad to work for? Is there something I am missing? I know Bombardier has had some setbacks, but I though FLexjet was A-OK.
Although I do not work at Flexjet, I do speak to their pilots often. None of the pilots I have spoken to have been upbeat, regardless if they were captain or FO.
All have spoken of reduced fleet size (less than 100 aircraft...est.), 2 year FOs with no upgrade in sight, downgraded hotels, bad labor relations, etc. I don't seem to cross paths with Flex'ers as much as I used to, either in the air or at the FBOs. I'm not sure what is going on there. I wish them the best of luck. It doesn't appear that Montreal is interested in making them the powerhouse they once were.
I'm not sure what all to tell you about Flexjet. First off, for those who don't know, my husband is a CA at Flexjet. And he loves flying learjets for them. With that said, most of what NJA Capt says is also true. There have been some tough times for Flex. I also think it's interesting that not many people post on here regarding Flex.
We haven't heard of any layoffs in the offices. We know of some new pilots though so I don't have any idea what happened with RJL. I can't imagine they are laying office personnel off when Flex had it's best quarter ever last quarter. I may be wrong in this, but I think they were the only fractional who posted a profit last quarter.
There have been some serious "labor problems" for the last 1-2 years. Well before 9/11. Upgrades are non existent and some of the other issues mentioned by other posts are true also. The hotel issue is a big one right now. Flying 7 on and 3 off is biggie too. Also a reason other pilots don't see them as much in FBO's is because the company is regularly flying the pilots 12+ hour days. They are in the air all the time now. It makes for some long days as a pilot, but it also could be part of the reason for making a profit last quarter.
Any other info you want let me know. As far as I know they are still accepting resumes and hiring.
I don't want to beat a horse when it's down on its knees but I will give you my insight into Flexjet.
There are many reasons why people at FX are so unhappy but here is a big one. When they laid-off people in October they did it OUT of seniority. They basically laid-off people they didn't like and after they got ride of those people they went to the bottom of the seniority list and laid off about 7 guys that were new-hires. So, for those of you who think a UNION isn't worth the $$$$$....think again!!
Nevertheless, FX has continued to go down the tubes thanks mostly to Montreal. Flexjet is about the most Micromanaged Company I have ever seen - the "Big Boys" up in BC tell the "Managers" in ADS what to do and they do it. As a result there is massive understaffing....people are flying 7/2 and 7/3 schedules consistently, poor hotels (CLC Card) and upgrades are now 3-4 years as the fleet continues to shrink. Management does not listen to the pilots and has now basically taken the stand of: "If you don't like it, leave. There are plenty of people who want your job." The "Bean Counters" have taken over FX and the results are evident.
There is again a push toward Unionization at Flexjet but don¡¦t think it will ever happen and if it does happen Bombardier will probably just shutdown Flexjet as it's not a moneymaker and don't want to deal with additional labor issues.
I am sorry to hear that Flex management is putting the screws to the pilots.
I was told that over a year ago Flight Options wanted to enter into talks with Flex for a merger but were turned away. Then Options went to Travel Air and worked out an agreement. A week before the Flight Options / Travel Air deal was announced Flex contacted Flight Options and said they were now interested but Flight Options told them it will have to wait a while.
I know that Ken Ricci at Flight Options wants to grow the company quick to match EJA in size ASAP so another merger might be in the future for Flex and Options once everything is settled with Travel Air.
As for the union issues, the teamsters are trying to get into Flight Options now and I was told by an EJA union rep that their plans are to get into all the fractionals and set a standard contract for all pilots at all the fractions with regards to money, pensions work rules etc...
I heard about recent layoff in the Flexjet Dallas office last month- not sure if this also applied to Flexjet pilots.
I was also told that Flexjet laid off a significant amount of pilots and other staff last Fall- I didn't 100% believe the story, so I searched and found this article- I guess it's true.
24 October 2001
The Canadian Press
MONTREAL (CP) _ Bombardier Aerospace, battered by turmoil in the global airline industry, is set to announce production plans for a new business jet Thursday.
Aviation journalists and aerospace industry leaders have been convoked to the company's headquarters in the Montreal suburb of Dorval for a briefing on the new aircraft, which a company spokesman said Wednesday was a business jet.
She refused to give further details.
The company, the world market leader in regional aircraft, is also a leader in the business jet field. Analysts say business aviation is the only industry sector that has not felt a dramatic impact of the worldwide aviation slowdown since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.
The new aircraft is probably a derivative of an existing model. Bombardier makes the Challenger 604 wide-body corporate jet in Dorval, while producing the three-member Learjet family of smaller business jets in Wichita, Kan.
It also makes two large corporate jets: the long-range Global Express, and the Continental.
The company, a unit of Bombardier Inc. of Montreal, is the third-largest civil aerospace company in the world, well behind Boeing Co. and Airbus Industrie.
Besides manufacturing aircraft, it has a growing business jet fractional ownership company called Bombardier Flexjet, and does aircraft maintenance and pilot training.
However the company had to announce last month the layoff of 3,800 employees in the aerospace sector to cope with the aviation slowdown it expects will translate into lower aircraft sales. And if sales don't pick up next year, the company warns it could chop a further 2,700 jobs.
Bombardier Inc.'s other divisions also make rail transportation equipment and motorized recreational products like the Ski-Doo.
The company employs 79,000 people in 24 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Revenues for its fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2001 totalled $16.1 billion.
In trading on the Toronto stock market Wednesday, Bombardier shares closed unchanged at $12 in trading of more than 3.6 million shares.
Yes they did lay off in October. And that was in part, a witch hunt. However, they have been hiring pilots and office staff for the last few months. They are also planning on hiring pilots for the next few months. Things are difficult at flex now, but they are looking better. They had a lot of growing pains. We will have to wait and see what happens. Everyone fly safe and I hope you are doing well.
Pilots' Wife is always pretty well on the mark. Vey informative, yet overly tactfull, and overly optomistic.
As a senior F.O. ( we call other F.O.'s under 2 years, "New guys"), there is no relief in sight.
The company could care less about the Morale. The reason they are hiring is they are losing so many F.O.'s and Cpt's for that matter. The F.O. pay scale is the same as that of the Flight Attendants. The reason is is that nobody was supposed to remain an F.O. for over a year. Next month will have been a year since the last upgrade. There are people that were hired several weeks before me that have been Cpt's for over a year.
I have heard on a positive note that the paperwork for the upgrades is on board our first "Global Express". (we were supposed to have recieved several of them by now, we have none)
Flex knows that they can always find pilots. They have no interest in the morale, or the well being of the people who work for them. In fact they are working on a plan now to hire Ab Initio guys (sorry, I'm sure that's spelled wrong).
We are nothing but a bunch of "lab rats".
They provide no information as to the short term or long term. The reason? Because they themselves don't know at the Dallas management level.
Somebody is going to say, "be more specific". Well I really have better things to do on my brief time in rest, but I think you are worth it, my fellow aviators young and old!
Here ya go;
We used to take senior Lear Cpt's and put them into the right seat of the Challenger making Lear Cpt's pay. Now the company hires guys off the street into the challenger. They don't have to pay them Lear Cpt pay, no Lear Cpt moves into the seat, no Lear F.O. upgrades. End result, a young guy comes in, doesn't make Cpt for 4 or 5 years, and it takes them another year or two to get that PIC time for the airlines.
We used to have a 60%/40% Cpt to F.O. ratio. They have changed that to 55%/45%. Result, less Cpt's, longer to upgrade.
We have gone from 4.5 pilots per aircraft, to 3.6 pilots per aircraft, Result, longer duty days and working alot longer on your fist and last days. (Now management weenies are gonna dispute this, I'm no mathmetician, or english major, but if you take the number of pilots and divide by the number of airplanes, it will give you the ratio. We went from almost 500 pilots to 370 something now, maybe even less!)
We now have the PBS bid system where you go in and bid what days you want off or on. The bid you get is based first on the operational needs of the company. Forget seniority by the way. It is very common for a guy junior to you to get more of the schedule you wanted. This is because of a bunch of bazaar "parameters" that are out into the computer. When the PBS came out, everybody, and I mean everybody (except the management people), started coming out with these 7 on 3 off schedules.
We used to stay at Hilton's, and Crowne Plaza's. Now we stay at Comfort Inns. We used to put the hotels on our credit cards and rack up the hotel points. Now we have a CLC direct bill card which allows us none of the extra "perks" we used to get.
We used to airline directly to our aircraft via American and home and seldom fly on the first day. Now we go on whatever cheapist fare is available, and end up being on the road all day trying to get to the aircraft.
These are only a few issues, there are many more.
Did I mention that we now get our catering on real China with real Napkins? Imagine what I'm thinking as I throw it into the trash when I am done?
I have to go, I will leave you with this question.
How many people have you heard of that have left EJA to go to Flexjet? Now ask yourself, How many people have left Flexjet to go to EJA?
I didn't even talk about pay, that will have to come another day.
I hope you are all well. To my Flexjet "Line Dog" Pilot friends; You are good people, I know you will serve our owners like the "Pro's" you are
Don't buy all of the negative hype. Flexjet is a good place to work, it has its pros and cons just like anywhere else.
The schedule is divided into 28 day months. You can work 15-19 days per month, the average is 17, which is guaranteed. You can bid to work more or less, but that's not guaranteed. There is an online bidding interface at the crew website that allows you to pick what your schedule is. If you're senior, and smart enough to know the rules (i.e., max 7 days on, min 3 days off, unless you waive to 2), you can get exactly what you want. There are some 7 day lines, but if you work 7 you get 4 off (waiveable). The normal min is 3 days off. Contrary to a previous post, it is seniority based. There is a lot of whining about this on the company message board. The complaints almost always are because a few pilots didn't understand how to bid. These guys didn't take the time to go to the class to learn the system, of course.
The scheduling system uses projections to know how many pilots are required during a typical day. Then the pilots bid on the demand. This uses crews efficiently, but it also means there are some scheduling restraints. Just like anywhere else. The difference is, ours are smarter.
There were layoffs last year inside the office and on the line, some were outside of seniority. Right or wrong? I don't know, don't know who was canned outside of seniority, maybe they deserved it more than a newhire. Compare a newhire who is happy as heck to have his job and a guy who's a pain in the neck to everybody and the company. I haven't heard of anyone who misses the guys who were canned then. I drop in and talk to my fleet manager every once in a while. He's a nice guy, and does what he can for me, I know. The other guys seem nice too. They're not scary or mean like some people like to imagine. I don't think I'm going to be fired.
Upgrades aren't under a year like they used to be, they've stretched to the 2-year mark. This is because of a poor year in sales last year, and changes in ratios. I hear this is a much better year for sales. I think there will be upgrades this summer/fall.
The complaint about new-hire CL FOs stopping upgrades is a popular misconception, but it doesn't stand up to logic. People used to move from LR Cpt. to CL FO to CL Cpt. Now you can be hired as a CL or LR FO, upgrade into the Lear, and eventually become a CL Cpt. (Not anytime soon) This change has NOT caused a long-term stoppage in FO upgrades, because we haven't added a bunch of CLs to the fleet. Adding CLs will bring Lear Cpts into the fleet, bringing FO upgrades in Lears... Think about that for a while, it will come to you.
There's complaining about hotels. True, we don't stay in as many nice hotels, but we still stay in many hiltons, doubletrees, etc. There are a lot of Holiday Inns nowadays. It's not 5-star luxury, but it's not bad. The guys who complain about losing perks from the CLC direct billing are probably the same ones who complained about having to use their credit card (company-issued, personally guaranteed) to "front" the company money.
I've been on one airline recently (past month or so), I've been flying out of ADS and back to ADS or DAL quite often in the past few months. I haven't been on an airline besides AA or Delta for at least 6 months - that was Southwest, in November I think.
FO pay is a problem, a raise would be nice, or be paid equivalent seniority Cpt. pay when they upgrade instead of starting as a 1st yr. cpt. Anyone with experience in aviation knows things change, this company is not going down the drain, so upgrade times will improve.
Flexjet is doing well overall, they posted a profit for the first time. Probably because they're a business and have to make money. I expect Montreal kind of requires positive financial performance. But Montreal isn't stupid either, they're going to make sure their investment pays off in the long term. Rumors regarding sales are just that.
Overall, the truth is a lot different than the bitching you see here and elsewhere. There are just some "bad apples" that are unhappy, just like everywhere else.