In 2017 they flew 2.5 million of passengers, pilots entered 46, 157 block hours and made almost 16, 000 flights preliminary reaching a turnover of 131.4 million euros. Now they are looking for 30-40 pilots to join for 2018 high season. Who are they?
It is a charter airline based in Riga also specializing in wet and damp lease services of their growing Airbus A320 fleet. The airline was founded in 1992 as Latcharter Airlines and became the very first airline to provide package holiday from Riga. In 2008 the company experienced rebranding. Last year it celebrated the 25th birthday, and now it is ready to expand its fleet to 16 of Airbus A320 Family aircraft and is one of the BAA Training partners presenting Pilot Cadet programme.
We continue our series of articles on airlines’ profiles by talking to Zygimantas Surintas, SmartLynx Airlines CEO.
How SmartLynx positions itself as an employer? What exclusive features does a job at SmartLynx have?
We are an international company with an international employee base that enables us to respond promptly and effectively to our customers’ requests. As an ACMI service provider we cooperate with different well-known airlines from all over the world and this offers an excellent opportunity to work in a multi-national and multi-cultural environment and gain multi-faceted professional experience, as well as travel the world.
We encourage our employees to maximize their potential and support their efforts to achieve long-term goals. In addition, excellence is the key priority for us throughout all our business activities. Therefore, outstanding performance and leadership is appreciated and rewarded. You will find that with our professional and motivating atmosphere SmartLynx is a great place to work.
How many pilots does SmartLynx employ at the moment? What are the expansion plans for the duration of the upcoming 5 years?
There is the average of 145 pilots flying for SmartLynx Airlines every year, but during the high season we need in total around 200 pilots. Currently, we are working on engaging additional 30-40 pilots for 2018.
The company’s strategic plan is to become the first choice for medium range ACMI and charter solutions in Europe. To do this, the company plans to expand its fleet to 16 aircraft in 2018 and continue increasing it by 1-2 aircraft each year (An. to operate one aircraft airline needs approx. 12 pilots), as well as to expand its area of operations. In Europe, our business is subject to seasonal shifts, and the market is most active from May until October. For that reason, it is important for us to enter markets that have no seasonality, and that means that we will continue to seriously develop our operations outside Europe, particularly in Asia. There we see the greatest growth in economic terms and in terms of passenger numbers. We are also working on developing flights to Cambodia, India, the Philippines and Malaysia. We’re also going to try to enter North American and Canadian markets by offering flights from Canada to Latin America and the Caribbean islands.
What is it like to be a pilot at SmartLynx?
It is important for us to have a team who believe and work in alignment with our company’s culture. No wonder the company’s name is derived from the constellation Lynx. Operating carefully, wisely and neatly we are making important connections between people, cities and even continents. We take the recruitment process seriously, as we work with specialists in the field helping us to choose pilots (or future pilots) who hold enthusiasm for flying, loyalty & respect, have good basic flying skills, good English, good team skills (CRM) whether they are a team leader or a junior.
For First Officers coming from ATO it takes approx. 3-4 years to upgrade to the rank of Captain if they have reached the requested amount of block hours and have met the other criteria. Every year 2 or 3 First Officers are promoted to the rank of Captain.
What is SmartLynx as an employer proud of?
SmartLynx has a highly professional and diverse team: our flight crew members represent more than 17 nationalities, speak multiple languages, and the average experience of captains is over 5300 block hours and that of first officers exceeds 1900 block hours. SmartLynx employees embody company’s core values: Adaptability, Flexibility, Trustworthiness, and Knowledge. They have proven to be a good foundation for achieving personal and corporate goals.