Operations: Where Safety and Crew Hiring Meet

 - February 11, 2013, 11:05 AM

For flight department managers, the work necessary to locate the best qualified temporary pilots, flight attendants or maintenance technicians has become easier over the past decade, thanks in part to the communications technology of the Internet. However, for the handful of staffing companies that actually serve as the go-between for employers and employees, the job has become considerably tougher as those companies assume much more of the risk than before.

Staffing companies must now typically maintain a variety of insurance policies such as worker’s compensation and some hull liabilities once thought to be the flight department’s responsibility. Illinois-based Flight Crews Unlimited (FCU) is one of the specialist firms trying to provide the corporate aviation community with qualified and vetted crews. Verifying every possible operational qualification of the contract employee is now something the flight department expects the staffing company to cover.

FCU uses only crewmembers who have successfully passed numerous background checks, such as an FAA airman certification, FAA airman enforcement, drug testing, nationwide criminal background checks performed on federal, state and local levels, and motor vehicle background checks, just to name a few,” explained FCU president Robert Tolomeo.

A crewmember’s professional reference check can be problematic since companies are restricted as to the type of information they can share during a reference check. Tolomeo asks for four to five professional references and calls almost all of them, he says. “But I also ask for the names of the other pilots or cabin crew they worked with, as well as some of the customer service people at FBOs they use regularly to form a solid picture of the employees’ level of professionalism, overall personality and safety record.”