MIAMI – For the winter 2021/2022 season, Qatar Airways (QR) is recruiting British Airways (BA) Boeing 777 Pilots to work for the Doha-based airline.
British Airways Pilots have received a memo asking if they are interested in a secondment option this winter in the Persian Gulf city. Up to 40 Pilots, evenly distributed between captains and first officers, are needed for this opportunity.
This chance is only available for six months, and any extension would require unanimous approval from all parties. According to the BA memo, Pilot training would begin in October and November, and Pilots would begin flying for QR soon after.
Those who take advantage of this would be stationed in Doha for the life of the agreement and would continue to be hired and paid by BA, albeit their pay would be depending on the quantity of flying they undertake, which would presumably be more at QR than at BA.
“There are significant complexities that would surround any opportunities,” the document concedes.
Keep in mind that QR holds a 25% stake in BA parent company IAG, and the two airlines have previously collaborated in this fashion; in 2017, when BA was experiencing labor troubles, QR stationed eight Airbus A320s in London to wet-lease them to the British carrier.
In Need of Pilots
Qatar Airways, one of a handful of Gulf-based airlines that had been rapidly expanding prior to the coronavirus outbreak, announced in March of this year that it was restoring its global network and would even expand its Boeing fleet.
To that effect, the airline began calling back Boeing 777 and 787-trained Pilots who had been laid off in the previous year. Now, as the winter season nears, QR is leveraging its aligned interests with BA so it can fulfill its needs for more Pilots.
While the complexities cited might include the fact that BA’s triple sevens will most likely increase their flying across the Atlantic as the US is to lift its travel ban in November (for fully-vaccinated travelers), the recruitment move is simple: QR’s network has grown during the pandemic but its staff is reduced. Conversely, BA will have an excess of Pilots come winter season, so this is a way to keep them flying.