Wet leasing is probably one of the more unusual but increasingly common services within the aviation industry. Officially known as ACMI which stands for ‘Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance’, wet lease airlines provide these services for scheduled or charter airlines when they don’t have enough resources to fill their own schedule.
This can happen during high demand periods, like say during busy holiday seasons or when an airline finds its own aircraft have been temporarily taken out of action. For example, when some airlines had to ground their Boeing 787 Dreamliners last year because of problems with the Rolls-Royce engines, operators called in wet lease airlines to fill the gaps in their schedules.
The same has happened more recently with the worldwide grounding of Boeing’s 737MAX aircraft. What makes working for a wet lease airline so interesting is that you just don’t know where in the world the next contract might take you. In the last couple of weeks, for instance, Portuguese wet lease carrier Hi Fly recently won a contract with Air Senegal to operate flights between Dakar and Paris.
These highly unusual working patterns can also mean that cabin crew at wet lease operators earn significantly more than their colleagues at scheduled airlines. Of course, there are plenty of challenges – the nature of this type of work means you can spend much more time away from home, while you’re constantly having to adjust to the service standards and needs of the client airline.
Challenges aside, wet lease airlines can be a great place to work, although landing a job for one of these companies can be even harder than scheduled airlines. Luckily, these three airlines are currently accepting applications for new cabin crew…
Hi Fly Airlines
One of the most famous wet lease operators is Hi Fly. It shot to prominence when it took delivery of the first second-hand Airbus A380 last year – and then shot to infamy only months later when the double-deck aircraft was damaged after it collided with a jetbridge on the French island of Reunion.
Based in Portugal, Hi Fly is now actively recruiting new cabin crew members. You’ll need to be at least 21 years old, fluent in English (and preferably another language) and be educated to at least High School level. You’ll also need to meet the following minimum criteria:
- Height: Women at least 160cm / Men at least 170cm tall
- Fitness: medically fit and a confident swimmer
This airline started operations only last year and it originally intended to operate scheduled air services between Brussels Charleroi airport and Hong Kong. That didn’t last for long and instead, the carrier has found success as a wet lease operator – most notably, Air Belgium has won multiple contracts with British Airways as well as LOT Polish Airlines.
Air Belgium currently operates a fleet of four Airbus A340’s that once belonged to Finnair and while it’s future looked uncertain for a while the carrier seems to have found its groove as a wet lease operator.
Minimum criteria include:
- At least 18-years old
- Able to reach a height of 210cm
- Medically fit
Finally, we have EuroAtlantic which is another Portuguese airline that has been around for over 25-years. Along with some charter services, EuroAtlantic’s main business is in ACMI, especially with Hajj flights transporting Muslim pilgrims from countries like Nigeria, Indonesia and Malaysia to Mecca (Medina) in Saudi Arabia.
Regular client airlines include TAP Portugal Airlines which make use of EuroAtlantic’s fleet of eight Boeing aircraft. The carrier is currently looking for both experienced and inexperienced cabin crew who must meet the following minimum criteria:
- Aged between 18 and 33 years old
- Height: Women at least 160cm tall / Men at least 165cm tall
- Educated to at least High School level
- Physically fit, a capable swimmer and a non-smoker
There are, of course, many other wet lease operators out there – these are just three that are currently recruiting cabin crew in Europe. Because all these vacanacies are in Europe, candidates must already have the legal right to live and work in the EU – unfortunately, none of these airlines are able to sponsor candidates.