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Why flight crew contracting is beneficial for both airlines and crew

In today's dynamic airline industry, addressing workforce shortages poses a significant challenge for airlines, especially low-cost carriers which in some cases are known to suffer high employee turnover rates. The pressure that existing employees can face as a result of staff shortages can impact efficiency, and risk damaging the airline’s brand image. In response to these challenges, airlines are increasingly turning to crew contracting as a strategic solution. By partnering with recruitment consultancies that offer contracting solutions, airlines can supplement their workforce in response to fluctuating need and reduce instability. This article aims to explore the different benefits of flight crew contracting in supporting airlines during periods of heightened or reduced demand. In addition, we touch on some of the benefits that flight crew members can gain, when working on a contract basis.

How flight crew contracting works


Flight Crew Contracting enables airlines to better manage their workforce needs by contracting their required crew on either a short or long term flexible basis. By using a contracting solution, airlines can manage their fixed costs more effectively with the ability to scale their crew up or down quickly, adapting to seasonal peaks, charter operations, fleet expansions and other market variables.

Contracting can either be handled directly by the airline or, as has become more prevalent in recent years, through a specialist that provides international contracting solutions. This comes with the added benefit of the extensive administrative burdens being taken care of, along with comprehensive contractor care programmes for the crew.

What are the benefits of flight crew contracting?

Flight crew contracting offers numerous benefits for both airlines and the flight crew they contract. Below are some of the key advantages for airlines:

1. Quick and efficient staffing solutions

Airlines can swiftly fill their pipelines with qualified professionals, addressing immediate shortage problems quickly and effectively. This helps to prevent disruption to their operation, including potential flight cancellations which would inevitably lead to financial penalties, reputational damage, passenger dissatisfaction, and compensation.

2. Flexibility in workforce management

By engaging crew members on a contract basis, airlines can maintain flexibility in their workforce, adapting to fluctuating demands without the constraints of permanent or fixed commitments through more restrictive local agreements.

3. Service quality remains unaffected


The primary distinction between contract and permanent crew is the engagement arrangement. Their experience, skill set and commitment to their role is equal to other employees who work on a permanent basis. This means airlines can confidently maintain service quality with contracted flight crew, ensuring no discernible impact on their passengers' experience.

4. Efficient end-to-end contracting process

Recruitment consultancies can manage the contracting process from start to finish. In addition

to sourcing and selecting candidates, recruitment consultancies can also handle payroll, compliance, contractor care, and any associated hiring complexities. This allows airlines to dedicate more time to their core activities and demanding flight schedules, alleviating administrative burdens for airlines.

5. Risk mitigation

Contracting flight crew through reputable recruitment companies can help airlines mitigate risks associated with hiring, such as legal liabilities, compliance issues, and potential mismatches in skills or cultural fit. Recruitment consultancies often handle regulatory compliance, background checks, and contractual obligations on the behalf of airlines.

6. Strategic partnerships


Collaborating with specialised recruitment consultancies that offer flight crew contracting services can foster long-term partnerships. These partnerships can lead to mutually beneficial arrangements, including access to talent pipelines, customised staffing solutions, and ongoing support for flight crew management.

Flight crew contracting for flight crew

1. Flexible work patterns

Flight crew can enjoy the flexibility of working on a contract basis, allowing them to choose their assignments and schedule according to their preferences and availability.

2. Potential for higher earnings


Depending on demand and market conditions, crew members may have the opportunity to earn higher incomes through contracting. Especially if they have specialised skills or are willing to work during peak demand periods and severe workforce shortages.


3. Professional development

Flight crew members can expand their work experience by working with more airlines over time on a contract basis. By taking a variety of opportunities, they open themselves up to diverse company cultures and working conditions.

4. Networking and industry connections

busy airport

Contracting exposes flight crew members to a broader network of industry professionals, allowing them to build relationships and connections that can benefit their careers in the long term.

5. Gain new experiences

By pursuing a variety of contracts, flight crew members have the opportunity to be based in or fly to different destinations for the first time, enjoy new benefits packages, and even gain exposure to various aircraft types and operational procedures. This variety enriches their skill set and broadens their professional horizons, ultimately contributing to their personal and career growth in the aviation industry.

6. Work-life balance

Contracting can also offer more control over flight crew members’ work schedules, enabling them to balance work commitments with personal or family responsibilities more effectively.

7. Work-life balance

Despite ongoing challenges, the aviation industry is projected to sustain rapid growth. Flight crew members will remain consistently in demand throughout all seasons with numerous contracting opportunities available to keep them busy.

Why flight crew contracting is worth it overall

Contracting flight crew candidates is an excellent way for airlines to solve short to medium term staffing shortages, which would otherwise debilitate their operations. Recruitment consultancies offer a variety of flight crew contracting solutions to enable airlines to meet their needs, and continue to provide a smooth, and uninterrupted service to their passengers. Likewise, flight crew can enjoy the flexibility of working for more airlines on a contract basis.


The AeroProfessional team are specialists in the recruitment and selection of aviation professionals across the globe. Reach out to the team today to discuss your current flight crew contracting needs and gain the expert advice and guidance you need to ensure your hiring strategy gains maximum success.

Looking for your new aviation role?

Every year we help hundreds of individuals find rewarding new roles within the aviation industry. Working across the full spectrum of aviation recruitment, from cabin crew and pilot roles, to engineering and head office opportunities, we provide an end-to-end service that matches you with the right role, in the right organisation, including on a contract basis.


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