JetBlue Ab Initio Program ?

bafanguy

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So, this is Gateway #7 ? Not many details given. Are the other 6 gateways not turning out enough candidates ? And there's one in cahoots with Expressjet too ?:


"JetBlue Pilots,

We are pleased to announce that JetBlue is developing an innovative talent pathway for those seeking to become pilots at JetBlue. In keeping with tradition, we?re calling it Gateway 7. This particular Gateway program will allow an applicant, if successful, to start with no flight time and become a JetBlue pilot after completing a rigorous training program. The first question that may come to mind is, ?Why is JetBlue creating another Gateway program when we have thousands of qualified applicants every time we open our application window??

Like our other Gateway programs, candidates build experience and training at their own expense and are not JetBlue Crewmembers until successfully completing their multi-year Gateway program. Essentially, Gateway 7 is just our latest addition to JetBlue?s leading suite of recruitment programs for future JetBlue pilots. All other Gateways will continue, including our popular Gateway 2 (Bluedarts), Gateway 6 (University program) and the standard Gateway 1 (off the street). For more information on Gateways ? please reference your FOM.

As you are all aware, in the United States, the traditional path to becoming a professional pilot is primarily based on an accumulation of hours approach and mainly focuses on single-pilot, single- or multi-engine operations in small general aviation aircraft. As professionally trained pilots ourselves, we know that it takes more than logging hours to be a successful pilot in today?s modern environment.

Since the cost and time of the traditional civilian pilot career path is becoming increasingly prohibitive for the average aspiring pilot, a new approach is needed. Gateway 7 will take a more competency-based approach and will optimize the training of prospective airline pilots by offering early exposure to multi-crew/multiengine operations, full motion simulator training, crew resource management, and threat and error management. We believe that by offering more ways to meet those diverse interests, strengths and backgrounds, we?ll be able to continue to find the best pilots in the industry long into the future.

Competency-based training programs are in use within the U.S. military and among leading international airlines. For those of you who have not experienced this first-hand, the U.S. military has very successfully used this type of highly structured method to train their pilots for decades. As such, we referenced guidance from the various military and ICAO training programs in the development of the Gateway 7 program.

Although still in the final phases of development, Gateway 7 will also be a highly-structured, high-quality training program. After completing the first several phases of training, the pilot trainee will accumulate 1,500 hours of flight time required for the issuance of an unrestricted ATP, in full compliance with existing FAR?s. Once the pilot candidate successfully completes the Gateway program and is selected to be a JetBlue pilot, s/he will be hired and complete the JetBlue qualification program, which will include a modified and extended version of IOE. Multiple stage checks and end-of-course tests ensure the pilot trainee?s progression according to the Practical Test Standards requirements of the FAA. We believe that our oversight of the entire training continuum and the candidates' early exposure to multi-engine/multi-crew operations will become a leading training option for pilots interested in Part 121 operations at JetBlue.

The Gateway 7 training program will be demanding. Therefore, we need to ensure trainees have a high probability of success. To support this, we are putting a rigorous Gateway 7 application process into place. Candidate screening will be a critical component of this process, just as it is for military pilot candidates before they are selected for flight school. Our goal is to ensure that our Gateway 7 selection assessments, currently in development, will help us choose well-qualified candidates who have the character traits and aptitude that ideally suit them for a career as pilots at JetBlue. The first stage of this process is data accumulation. Our talent department is working with a third-party business partner to help develop the multi-stage, rigorous selection process.

To help us validate the screening assessment we are developing, we are seeking assistance from current JetBlue pilots. Look for a follow up email in the coming days with more details regarding the assessment and how you can play an integral part in shaping this important aspect of the program ? the process by which we will select candidates for Gateway 7.

In closing, Gateway 7 will officially launch in the coming weeks and we will announce the selection process and timeline later this year. Based on our training capacity, we are planning to begin with about 24 pilot trainees in the spring 2016 inaugural class. As a result, the program?s first graduating class of First Officers is projected to be ready to join the line in 2020, approximately four years after starting the program.

Stay tuned for more details on Gateway 7."
 

flyboyike

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They were talking about this back in 2006-2007 when the fears of an "upcoming shortage" were not limited to the regionals. Then age 65 happened, and put the kibosh on about everything, so...
 

bafanguy

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Well, JB seems to be a bit more overtly "proactive" than other similar carriers when it comes to pilot supply.

The Big Three don't appear to be sweating this stuff at all.
 

GuppyPuppy

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The Big Three don't appear to be sweating this stuff at all.

That's because they have better pay/benefits, etc.... as well as massive seniority progression over the next 10-15 years. Jetblue seniority progression mainly a function of growth over that time period.

I haven't heard of one pilot leaving the big 4 for Jetblue for a long, long time. However, our pilots are leaving for these carriers.

Would hate to be junior when the music stops. Been there, done that.

Gateway 7...brought to you by New York's gayest airline!

E
 

bafanguy

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That's because they have better pay/benefits, etc.... as well as massive seniority progression over the next 10-15 years. Jetblue seniority progression mainly a function of growth over that time period.

GP,

No disagreement there !!

Airline jobs based on growth are just life on thin ice from the start. But those jobs based on attrition out the top...much more comforting. :D

But, JB does seem to be a bit more "aware" than the average.
 
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bafanguy

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I guess someone will eventually come along with the nitty-gritty details about how is program is going to work ?

I see no specifics on it anywhere yet. They must have an organization on the hook to do the initial flight training.
 

exagony

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What about the pilots who have applied multiple times to JB to no avail? Hope the union blocks this program!
 

bafanguy

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Hope the union blocks this program!

I can see why qualified people who applied and didn't get hired would be irked at an ab initio program, but...

Does a union have any horsepower in determining who gets hired or under what circumstances ? I'm sure a union would have an opinion about it didn't think they could block stuff like that.
 
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BeachBummer

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JBALPA's stance on the program is that it is not good and has asked members not to participate.
 

bafanguy

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JBALPA's stance on the program is that it is not good and has asked members not to participate.

Can you offer any specifics as to why ALPA says it's "not good" ? Just curious about how these things work...not taking a side here.

These ab initio/cadet programs are pretty common around the world but would admittedly be a very new concept here in the USA.

JB seems to be very "creative" in finding pipelines to pilot supply. They recently announced something called Advance Gateway in cahoots with ExpressJet.

If there actually is...or will shortly be...a pilot shortage at the larger airline level (I remain a skeptic), isn't it wise to start creating ways to avail themselves of the supply ?

NOT TAKING A STAND HERE !! JUST ASKING !!
 

BeachBummer

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I'll dig up the email later but honestly when specifics are you looking for?

JBalpa pilots officially do not support the abinitio program.
 

bafanguy

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BB,

That's OK...no sweat. :D
 

$$$4nothin

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JBALPA stance

Recently, management announced the new Gateway 7 program. The JetBlue MEC views this ab initio program as an untimely and unwarranted lowering of hiring standards that will negatively affect our company and our profession. Therefore, we oppose the implementation of this program at JetBlue. Soon management will be seeking volunteers to participate in taking an aptitude test which will be given to candidates. We encourage you not to participate in this assessment.
 

flyboyike

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Recently, management announced the new Gateway 7 program. The JetBlue MEC views this ab initio program as an untimely and unwarranted lowering of hiring standards that will negatively affect our company and our profession. Therefore, we oppose the implementation of this program at JetBlue. Soon management will be seeking volunteers to participate in taking an aptitude test which will be given to candidates. We encourage you not to participate in this assessment.

Interesting perspective.
 

BeachBummer

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Jbalpa wrote said:
Fellow Pilots:

As you know, many paths are available to those wishing to become an airline pilot in the United States. Each of you spent years in the military, regional airlines, cargo, or corporate flying in order to build the flight experiences necessary to be a safe and professional aviator. It takes years of flying in all types of weather and in all situations to make one competitive enough to become a JetBlue pilot.

More than 14,000 ALPA pilots at regional airlines with several thousand hours of 121 experience are qualified and ready to join the ranks of JetBlue. The issue of hiring and retaining qualified JetBlue pilots comes at the price of a quality collective bargaining agreement—not at the prospect of hiring non-aviators and hoping that their simulator time and flight training in a blue-sky world prepares them for shooting an ILS to minimums during a winter storm.

Please don’t let our profession down or lower our standards for the promise of a raffle ticket by participating in JetBlue surveys which seek to gather data to model the typical JetBlue pilot. JetBlue’s attempt to create an ab initio program is not an effective way to secure qualified aviators, and we are concerned that the program is an attempt to deal with an increasingly competitive market for pilots without dealing with the need to improve rates of pay, rules, and working conditions.

The best way to attract and retain the best pilots is with a great CBA. One of the greatest assets our negotiators have at the table is the professionalism and experience of our pilot group. With that kind of wealth of skill and capability, we can negotiate a contract that will enhance JetBlue as a destination airline. In this fashion, we can recruit and maintain the finest aviators who come with seasoned proficiency and safety.
For these reasons, we ask you not to participate in Gateway 7 program surveys.

The pilots of jb do not support this program.

Any other questions?
 

Mungusaurus

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Yet ab-initio programs have been used in the rest of the world with great success for decades. British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, Quantas, and others have used cadetships to their advantage. The testing is rigorous to qualify and then you can tailor the individual from day 1 to be exactly the pilot you want, following your SOP from the get go.
With flight training becoming prohibitively expensive (especially if you go to college too) this seems like the perfect way to ensure a stream of highly qualified, highly motivated and dedicated employees.
Now, does it suck for the people who have applied and failed? Yes, sure it does but if you failed to get hired is that the company's fault or yours?
Does this mean the company will stop its traditional hiring? No, because it takes years to get an ab-initio student to the right seat of a 320 or 190.
Will this encourage some people to start flying who otherwise wouldn't because it was cost prohibitive? Yes.
Does every branch of the US military use ab-initio to pretty great success? Hell yes and I defy any of you to say that the US military's pilots are somehow sub standard because of it.
I just don't see the issue with this at all.
 

Blue Dude

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This isn't Europe or China. There is no shortage of already-qualified pilots in this country. There is a shortage of pilots willing to work for less than the waiter at Chili's. The JetBlue ab initio program is nothing more or less than an attempt to train up captive pilots willing to work for less because they'll have nowhere else to go. We need experienced pilots, not well-drilled switch monkeys.
 

Mungusaurus

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This isn't Europe or China. There is no shortage of already-qualified pilots in this country. There is a shortage of pilots willing to work for less than the waiter at Chili's. The JetBlue ab initio program is nothing more or less than an attempt to train up captive pilots willing to work for less because they'll have nowhere else to go. We need experienced pilots, not well-drilled switch monkeys.

I'd hardly call a Cape Air pilot who's flown in the northeast during the winter a well trained switch monkey! It's a tried and proven program and it gives people who may not otherwise be able to fly the opportunity to.
The money? That's on you, your Union, and what it will negotiate for them.
 
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