Over the last few years, we’ve seen a number of airlines either close or significantly reduce the size of their international crew bases. Last year, British Airways sparked a furious backlash when it made the sudden decision to close a cabin crew base in Hong Kong that resulted in 89 international cabin crew being made redundant without much warning at all.
And in February, Cathay Pacific made a decision to close its Toronto base with the loss of 120 crew and other support staff. A number of other airlines have also decided to shut international crew bases in an effort to reduce overheads as much as possible.
In a way, this is a symptom of internationalism – passengers and crew are far more aware of different cultures than they ever have been and it’s not always absolutely essential to have crew members who hail from the same country and culture as the majority of passengers.
In the case of a cosmopolitan city like Hong Kong, airlines have probably decided that a ‘cultural wall’ no longer exists to justify having international cabin crew.
In other cases, though, airlines still recognise the value of international crew – this applies especially to burgeoning travel markets like China and India where there can still be a big cultural divide. In these cases, it can be difficult for European or North American airlines, for example, to hire enough staff with the required cultural understanding in their home market.
But unlike airlines like Emirates or Singapore Airways, they aren’t allowed to sponsor international crew to live and work at their home base. Instead, it still makes sense to have an international base even if that means extra expense.
There are, though, ways to reduce that cost. Today, Finnair announced it is expanding its relationship with crew management specialists OSM Aviation and existing Dehli-based international crew will have the option to transfer onto a new contract with the Norwegian company. Finnair already outsources crew management of its Hong Kong and Singapore-based crew to OSM Aviation so this would be a natural progression.
OSM Aviation is also hiring new Dehli-based cabin crew on behalf of Finnair with applications to be submitted as soon as possible. As well as already having the legal right to live and work in India, candidates will have to meet the following minimum requirements:
- At least 20 years old
- Minimum height of 162cm
- Graduate in any discipline OR HSC (10+2) with 3 years Diploma in Hotel Management & Catering Technology from Institutes affiliated to National Council of Hotel Management.
- Physically fit and healthy and able to swim at least 50 metres unaided
While Finnair says that all service will now be provided in English, OSM Aviation says it is only looking for candidates who are proficient in both English and Hindi. Additional skills in another European language would also be a big advantage.
More information, as well as the opportunity to submit an application, can be found on the official OSM Aviation website here. There is also an opportunity for direct entry pursers, with further information about the additional requirements on the job ad.
Finnair was keen to point out that the 2,230 crew members based at its Helsinki hub will remain directly employed by the airline. Although OSM Aviation does provide crew training services, the new hire Dehli-based crew will complete six weeks of initial training at Finnair’s own training facility.
There are still some sweet spots for international cabin crew but these opportunities are few and far between.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently used by some of the biggest names in journalism.