It’s a New Day at Republic Airways: new Pilot contract, new technology, with a focus on its people
Republic Airways – the world’s largest operator of the popular Embraer 170/175 aircraft – once again is living up to its reputation as a game changer among regional airlines. The 40-plus-year-old airline and longtime codeshare partner with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines recently set the bar in the regional industry by focusing on what’s most important to Pilots – compensation and quality of life.
Leading Pay and Upgrade Opportunities
Republic now boasts a landmark collective bargaining agreement that includes starting First Officer pay of $40 an hour; industry-leading Captain rates; 12 guaranteed days off per month for reserves; a competitive signing bonuses; and an average upgrade time of three to four years.
Quality of Life
Happy employees lead to a better airline. So in 2015, the Company made a significant investment in work-rules and benefits. It now has industry-leading cancellation pay (leg-by-leg), trip and duty rigs and training schedules. Also, Republic Airways remains the only regional airline with no junior manning.
In the benefits area, the Company created a medical health program specifically for Pilots, with no increase in premiums over the next two years, and caps on increases thereafter. For less than $100 a month, Pilots can gain access to one of the most comprehensive health networks in the country. Dental and vision coverage are available at no cost for Pilots (Pilots only, dependents are additional premium). Lastly, all Republic Airways Pilots can immediately access the Company’s 401(k) program and begin receiving a Company match on Day 1.
“We want to be America’s regional airline of choice, and our Pilot contract brings us full circle to achieve that goal,” VP of Human Resources Matt Koscal said. “We have the best aircraft, the best people, and now, the best compensation packages for all of our valued Associates.”
Location, Location, Location
In addition to leading compensation and operating the best aircraft in the regional space, one of the most attractive things about working for Republic is the diversity of its base locations.
“We did a recent survey of prospective Pilots, and at the top of their priority list was base location,” Chief Operating Officer Paul Kinstedt said. “Our base locations offer a variety of options and will open up even more opportunities for our crewmembers as we work toward a Single Operating Certificate by the end of 2016.”
Kinstedt added: “To ensure we remain a leader on that front, we recently launched an aggressive year-long campaign to upgrade all of our crew rooms. Given the occasional downtime our Pilots and Flight Attendants spend in our crew rooms, it was important to us to improve those spaces. The early feedback has been very exciting.”
New Training Center Coming in 2016
In October 2015, the Company broke ground on a new Training Center near Indianapolis International Airport, a 40,000-square-foot learning complex that will house an E-Jet cabin simulator, and classroom facilities that can accommodate more than 400 people daily. The facility also will feature a 100-seat auditorium. At twice the size of its current facility, the Training Center will employ about 60 Associates and is expected to be completed in Q2 2016.
“This new facility confirms our commitment to training excellence as an industry leader,” Kinstedt said. “This versatile complex ensures our flight crews and frontline employees will continue to receive the best instruction available. Nothing is more important than the safety of our passengers and crews. Our new Training Center will help us continue delivering on that commitment.”
Investing in Our People
The Company is making significant investments in innovative technology and Associate development – the keys to success at any company. In 2015, Republic launched the ASCEND Leadership Development Program, an internal initiative engaging more than 200 people leaders across the organization in developmental workshops aimed at creating more effective coaches, collaborators, mentors and leaders. By developing these front-line people leaders, Republic will be better prepared to meet the needs of Associates during the next two decades, according to Koscal.
“Our success begins and ends with our Associates, so it’s critical to stay connected with their needs and empower them to make decisions consistent with our mission and guiding principles,” Koscal said. “With the advent of millennials, our employee groups have varying needs, and we need to understand those needs and connect with each of them in ways they are familiar and comfortable with.”
CEO Bryan Bedford said the investment in people is an initiative from the top. “It’s simple: There’s nothing more valuable than our people, and that’s why we’re investing in our leaders. We need to create greater connectedness with our frontline employees. As leaders, we need to be better listeners and coaches.”
“Most importantly, we must clearly define what it means to be a leader at Republic,” he added. “It all begins and ends with leadership if we are serious about making our people our number one priority. The company’s ASCEND leadership program is proof-positive of that commitment.”
Last year, the Company partnered with a leading software innovator to develop the regional airline industry’s first mobile application designed specifically for crews. The landmark application, called Crew Life, features real-time scheduling, hotel, airport and compliance information, and is available for iOS (Apple) and Android mobile devices. Best of all, it was developed from inception with feedback from its frontline users – Republic’s crewmembers – so it provides the customized information tailored to their specific needs in a user-friendly, intuitive way. In the end, the goal is to improve the quality of life for crewmembers as well as elevate internal levels of service. Response has been overwhelmingly positive since the Crew Life launch, and more releases with additional features are being rolled out almost monthly.
In 2015, Republic also went paperless and fully mobile when it transitioned Pilots and Flight Operations support personnel to iPads to make their daily work more efficient and convenient. No more lugging around heavy, bulky flight bags filled with cumbersome and costly printouts of manuals and charts. Today, Republic’s flight crews carry a 1½-pound mobile tablet (including charger) loaded with virtually everything they need for their job, accessible 24/7.
Meeting the Recruitment Challenge
Republic’s Talent Acquisition team has refined the way it does business by employing cutting-edge recruiting technologies to attract the best aviation professionals in the business, and it has automated the process to make it more seamless. This means moving away from “old-school” paper tactics to more modern approaches centered on digital marketing and research, thus making the process easier for candidates.
The airline also is partnering with leading avionic universities and the top flight schools across the country. In April 2015, Purdue University and Republic announced an innovative new partnership that matched Republic with students from one of the nation’s top aviation programs. Called the Industry–Purdue Opportunity Pipeline (iPOP), the collaborative career track initiative concentrates on enhancing education and experience for students in Purdue’s Department of Aviation Technology by introducing real-world scenarios and projects at Republic. Upon graduation, iPOP participants receive a guaranteed employment interview with Republic for positions such as pilots, engineers, mechanics and other corporate functions. Republic has established similar career-pathway agreements with more than a dozen schools across the country.
Republic is a leading participant with organizations that support aspiring aviators, such as the world-renowned EAA AirVenture; Women in Aviation (WAI); Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP); National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA); Future & Active Pilot Advisors (FAPA); and the Indianapolis ACE Academy. Republic’s presence at these events is more than just setting up a booth; the Company takes an active role in engaging with the next generation of aviators. In 2015, Republic awarded its “Nothing but Blue Skies” Women in Aviation Scholarship and is looking forward to presenting the award again in 2016 in Nashville, Tenn.
Join the Republic Family
Republic has openings in a variety of departments across its system. Explore your next opportunity at Republic’s job website: http://rjetcareers.jobs.
Want to get in on the action? First Officers need to meet (or soon plan to meet) the following qualifications:
Be within three (3) months of qualifications for ATP Minimums OR Restricted ATP Minimums
Hold a Commercial Pilot’s license with English proficiency endorsement
75 HRS Instrument, 50 HRS Multi-engine, 175 HRS Cross Country time
Current 1st Class Medical
FCC restricted Radio Operators Permit
Authorization to work in the U.S. and ability to travel unrestricted in and out of the U.S.
Ability and willingness to work weekends, nights, holidays and overnight trips
Ability to maintain a well-groomed and professional appearance
Ability to pass pre-employment fingerprint, background and drug test
Excellent communication skills, including ability to speak, read and write English fluently
There’s plenty going on these days at Republic Airways — investments in people, innovative partnerships and new technologies. While the first 40-plus years have been memorable, it is the bright future that defines the Company today. And with an industry-leading Pilot contract now firmly in place, the sky is truly the limit at Republic Airways.
More information is available by contacting Republic’s Talent Acquisition team at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (317) 484-6000.
Name: Republic Airway
Headquarters: Indianapolis, Ind.
Founded: 1974, started as a small turboprop regional in Jamestown, N.Y.
Number of employees: 6,000
Number of aircraft: approximately 200, primarily Embraer 170s, 175s
Annual revenue: $1.2 billion (2014)
Stock ticker: NASDAQ/NM: RJET, publicly traded since 2004.
Daily departures: 1,000
Number of bases: 14, serving such major markets as New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Miami.
Number of cities served: 110 in the U.S., Canada and Caribbean
Customers: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines
Phone: (317) 484-6000
Contributors to this article:
Bob Birge, Director of Corporate Communications
Matt Koscal, VP of Human Resources
Scott Sendelweck, Sr. Manager of Talent Acquisition
Scott Thien, Manager of Corporate Communications
Interview with Scott Sendelweck, Sr. Talent Acquisition Manager, Republic Airways
Craig: How do you select applicants to be brought in for an interview?
Scott: You will find that Republic Airways casts a wide net. We accept applications via pilot referrals, Airlines Apps, social media outlets (Linked-In, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) as well as our new Pilot Recruitment website. Our Pilot selection process is based upon an extensive review of the candidate’s (20) profile questions, resume and application. Depending on the results, we follow up with a live call for a phone screen.
C: Can you explain the point system associated with online application process and what types of things count for points?
S: No “Point System” here at Republic. Our highly skilled Talent Acquisition team reviews all submitted applications. We feel that taking the extra effort to screen each application helps us ensure quality down the line. If a Pilot takes the time to provide their information to Republic, they should know that we will take the time to review it.
C: What can an applicant do to increase their chances of being called for an interview?
S: Honestly, it’s not very complicated. The things that make candidates stand out from the crowd are fairly simple — properly complete the application and return the calls/emails from the recruitment team in a timely manner. Business professionalism is what stands out the most.
C: How critical is it to attend an industry event to get an interview?
S: Attending a job fair is not necessary to secure an interview, however it is a fabulous way to connect, network and research the company you want to call home. Industry events are great for meeting us in person and meeting current Republic Airways Pilots. In most cases, you will get a chance to interview right on the spot during the event. If you want to interview with Republic Airways, don’t let the idea of attending a job fair stand in the way of your career.
C: What is the best way to prepare for an interview with your company?
S: Great question. The best way to prepare is make sure your Pilot documents are in order. Like any other airline, we are going to confirm that your logbooks and documents are current. Review the current ATP written questions. Be prepared to take brief a Jeppesen Approach plate. Study your weather. We want to make sure that you can decode a METAR/TAF. Once you have covered all the technical details of being a Pilot, relax (as much as you can), smile and be ready to talk about yourself. A large part of the interview is gauging your personality and social interaction. We want our Pilots to be knowledgeable, confident and personable.
C: Do you recommend that applicants get to your Headquarters city the day before and get a hotel room for the night?
S: No, definitely not necessary. However, Indianapolis is an awesome city. If you’re here for an overnight, I would highly suggest exploring the town a bit. Republic has a variety of convenient interview options. For starters, we do interview at all on-site recruiting events. If you see us at one of our many events this year, please come on by and say hello! We offer a good old-fashioned interview at our Headquarters, too, of course. We fly our candidates into Indianapolis (IND) the afternoon before the interview, provide all ground transportation and cover the hotel room. After the interview is completed, we fly our candidates home. We understand that traveling to interview on your days off can be a burden, but we have tried to make the process as accommodating as possible.
C: Can you walk me through a typical day of interviews?
S: Our onsite interviews in Indianapolis kick off at 8:30 a.m. After a brief hello and introduction, we get right into the logbook and Pilot documentation review. Personally, I have not talked to any candidate who didn’t appreciate having plenty of coffee and donuts around during the review process. They definitely help everyone to wake up and get amped up for Pilot-to-Pilot conversations regarding total flight time and equipment types. After the review, we move into a comprehensive information session which gives detailed insight about Republic Airways as a company and describes the First Officer position. Afterward, the candidate will have a PRIA review, a 20-question aviation test and a face-to-face interview with an active line-duty Republic Airways Pilot. During the day, refreshments are made available. If it is a larger group of candidates, we will provide lunch and have guest speakers on hand from Flight Operations, Crew Scheduling and our Executive leadership. We pride ourselves in having the best Pilot interview experience in the industry.
C: What kind of questions can an applicant expect to be asked?
S: As one might expect, our selection questions come in a variety of formats. Expect questions that will challenge your knowledge of flight operations, as well as a few situational awareness questions that gauge your professionalism on and off the runway.
C: Can you give me some examples of the TMAAT questions that you like to ask?
S: Spending time with your crew is important. One of our favorite series of questions is: “Tell me about a time you had flown with a difficult person. What was difficult about flying with that person? What did you do to overcome that difficulty? How did you communicate?” Our questions are built to investigate how well you would overcome potential adversity. We want to see if you can work in demanding environments while being cool, calm, collected and using the best judgment.
C: If the TMAAT question being asked does not apply to that applicant, can that question be skipped?
S: Of course. If an interview question does not directly apply, the candidate should absolutely let us know. We want an open conversation about the candidate’s flying experience. This is a two-way street. Please interview us as much as we will interview you.
C: What are some of the biggest mistakes that applicants make during the interview process?
S: One of the biggest mistakes a candidate can make is not doing their homework before showing up for an interview. You have to be prepared. Know your stuff. We are creating a culture of success based on the dedication of the women and men choosing Republic Airways both on the ground and in the sky. A candidate should never take an interview lightheartedly. I can 100% guarantee you that we will not.
C: Is there a written or computer test?
S: Yes. We administer a 20-question, electronically delivered aviation test. The test randomly pulls questions from a bank of 450 questions. A little warning: The test is timed — you will have 10 minutes to complete it.
C: What can you recommend applicants study for that test? At what point is this test taken?
S: The questions have been pulled directly from the current ATP written bank. We typically send out the testing link before an interview.
C: Do you have a simulator ride?
S: We do not have a simulator evaluation that is used in our interview process.
C: Do you tell applicants they are hired in person that day?
S: We have a very fast selection and on-boarding process. We typically do not inform applicants that they are hired the same day, but it does happen from time to time. We work very hard to wrap up administrative details post interview,before offering a confirmed training class. The little extra time we spend on the front end results in a higher quality experience for our candidates.
C: If not, how long do applicants have to wait to know if they are hired?
S: The timeline differs based on each candidate’s employment and personal situation, however, we typically communicate results within 24-48 hours of the interview.
C: How soon can an applicant expect a class date after being hired?
S: The response to our new contract has been strong, and as such we are now placing new hires in classes about 2 months out. However, we do have an occasional opening in an earlier training class, so we encourage candidates to let us know if they have a preference for an earlier class date.
C: How many Pilots does your airline expect to hire this year?
S: We anticipate hiring approximately 500 pilots this year.
C: Can you explain the ATP-CTP class that your company offers?
S: As many of your readers know, it is not necessary to have your ATP-CTP certification before securing an interview with Republic Airways. We have multiple negotiated deals in place with universities and flight schools across the country to make it convenient for our future Pilots to obtain their ATP-CTP. We advertise this heavily, because it is a major company selling point, and for some it’s a jumpstart to a great career with Republic Airways. We also pick up transportation and lodging for the student.
We are in the process of having our own ATP-CTP course approved by the FAA. Once we gain approval, we will be conducting ATP-CTP training certification in-house at our state-of-the-art training facility in Indianapolis.
C: Do you have a hiring bonus? Is there any specific criterion to qualify for the bonus?
S: Yes we sure do. Republic Airways has consistently remained competitive with signing bonuses, but what’s even more impressive is our new first year FO rates and work rules. A first year pilot hired at Republic today can expect to earn approximately $50,000 when you look at the full package.
C: Does Republic Airways have a Pilot referral program?
S: We believe no one has a greater interest in attracting good talent to the airline than our current team members. As such we have maintained a Pilot Referral Program. The actual referral bonus amount fluctuates from time-to-time, based on the need to fill classes. Many of our Pilots take full advantage of this great program. Great Pilots come referred by great Pilots!