While long-haul travel has a long road towards recovery, some airlines are doing everything they can to be in a position to ramp up operations when it does. Vietnam’s leisure specialist Bamboo Airways announced Friday that it is looking to hire instructors, captains, and first officers for Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Fleet in expansion
The positions are open to both Vietnamese nationals and ex-pats with a minimum of 6,000 flight hours in multi-crew airplanes for instructors and captains and 3,000 hours for first officers. Moreover, the former categories must have 1,500 of hours flying Dreamliners. Vietnamese first officers need to have 500 hours on type, while ex-pat first officer applicants need 1,500.
In operation for only two years, Bamboo Airways already has a fleet of 29 aircraft. Three of these are 787-9s with an average age of 1.9 years between them. Two are leased from China Aircraft Leasing Group (CALC), and one from GECAS. A second one from GECAS is due to arrive with the carrier before long.
The Bamboo Airways 787-9s can carry a maximum of 294 passengers in a two-class configuration cabin. There are 26 business class seats, 21 in premium economy, and 247 economy seats.
All three Dreamliners currently in Bamboo Airways’ fleet are listed as active. They are mostly flying on the domestic premium route between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City – the world’s fourth busiest city-pair. However, every now and then, one of the Vietnamese carrier’s 787-9s has been spotted at European runways, operating repatriation flights.
Where will the job take them?
Had things gone according to plan, meaning if the biggest global crisis of the past half-century hadn’t come along, Bamboo would already be operating regular scheduled services to Europe.
The airline had planned to launch routes to Prague and Munich during 2020, but for understandable reasons, this did not happen. However, once travel reopens, the carrier intends to make an even bigger European arrival, having recently secured much-coveted slots at London Heathrow.
With the US Department of Transportation (DOT) granting Bamboo Airways permission to operate nonstop services between Vietnam and the US, the airline could also commence services to North America. Potentially, its 787 pilots may also fly to Australia, although it is far from certain when that market will reopen to international leisure travel.
Growing fleet requires more pilots
Widebody pilots are not the only ones in demand at Bamboo Airways. The airline is also hiring cockpit crew for its regional Embraer E190 jets. It currently has one ERJ-190 and four ERJ-195s in its fleet, with another three of the former on its way. Furthermore, the airline is also advertising for Airbus A320 pilots. This is not surprising as the airline has stated it is looking to nearly double its fleet by the end of the year.
Going from strength to strength, COVID notwithstanding, Bamboo Airways is positioning itself to come out on the other side of the crisis engines roaring. The fact that it can take more airline crew along with it is wonderful news for some who have found themselves without employment as the pandemic has ravaged airline revenues across the globe.