Thursday, August 30, 2012

So you’ve been invited for the interview...

Congratulations, you are one step closer! Now the hard work begins! First things first, you have to figure out how to get to Indonesia, let alone Jakarta. It can be quite a financial outlay as Susi Air covers none of the costs for its interviewees, only the accommodation while in Pangandaran. The rest is up to you. Expect to pay around USD 1500 for the plane ticket, another 300-400 dollars for hotel in Jakarta before and after the interview in Pangandaran, a decent amount for food, taxi and of course beer! Just for the interview you are looking at USD 2000 plus! Then if you are so unlucky as to actually get the job, you have to pay it all over again, unless of course you stay in Indonesia and backpack around as many people do. Don’t sweat though as you will be able to recoup this money if you get the job and stay on for a few years.

The interviews are usually conducted during midweek of 2-3 days. This is normally on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. This does vary though. Be sure to arrive in Jakarta at least 24 hours before you are to take the Susi Air flight from Halim (the airport Susi Air operate out of in Jakarta) to Pangandaran and schedule your return ticket home at least 24 hours after the last exam or test. Susi Air pays for the Halim-Pangandaran flight, don’t worry!
Pangandaran - Home of Susi Air
With regards to hotels in Jakarta that are safe and decent , I can recommend the following: Max One Hotel in Sabang – around USD 45 a night, Amaris Hotel (there are several in Jakarta), Formula 1 near Menteng or if you are on a budget then try any of the backpacker places along Jalan Jaksa. There is also a lot of cheap hotels in Blok M (the red light district), but I would stay away until you work for Susi Air!  Have a look at,, or even for really cheap deals.

People will also tell you that you are only to take Blue Bird taxis while in Jakarta. This is correct to a degree, although I would also recommend Express and Gamya, I have had no problems with them. Once you arrive in Jakarta and get landside, head straight for the curbside at the terminal where there are lots of signposts for different taxi companies. The Blue Bird one should be easy to spot as it is the one that is most crowded. Make sure you get a numbered piece of paper from the guy in the Blue Bird uniform, this is your sequence in the queue. Now wait, sometimes it takes up to 1 hour before it is your turn! Make SURE you know your bahasa numbers (satu, dua, tiga, empat etc).

On the way to town you have to pay for the toll road (Rp 12,500) and also an airport surcharge of Rp 10,000 and then of course the meter sum when you arrive at your hotel. Whatever you do, do not agree to talk to anyone who walks up to you and says “Blue Bird mister”, it’s just a random guy wanting to charge you overprice!
Blue Bird taxi
For food while in Jakarta, definitely stay away from any street vendors as the last thing you would want is the runs when you are at the interview! There are plenty of good malls with food courts that are cheap and safe. Just of the top of my head I can think of Senayan City, Grand Indonesia, Plaza Semanggi, Taman Anggrek Mall and Pondok Indah Mall. There are a few good places to eat which are cheap. I recommend Solaria, Gado Gado Boplo and Warung Tekko. A main dish will set you back around Rp 25,000 (USD 3). Not too bad.
Downtown Jakarta
Now that you have all the logistics down, it’s time to focus on why you are here in the first place. The interview and all that it encompasses will be covered in my next post!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Susi Air: History and background

Susi Pudjiastuti and her husband Christian Von Strombeck started Susi Air back in 2004 with initially only 2 Cessna Caravan. These aircraft were purchased in order to ferry lobster from South Java to Jakarta for export, seafood being Susi’s main business at the time. In the aftermath of the terrible Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, these aircraft helped out in the relief effort, flying equipment, medicine and staff in and out of the hardest hit areas. As such, Susi Air started operations. A base was set up in Medan in 2005 with 3 aircraft and both scheduled and charter flying began.

Over the years more Caravans were added to the fleet and more bases opened up across the Indonesian Archipelago. As of August 2012, the company operates in and out of the following bases: Jakarta, Pangandaran (training centre and HQ) Medan, Bengkulu, Ketapang, Balikpapan, Tarakan, Malinau, Kupang, Biak, Nabire, Manokwari, Wamena and Sentani. The flying is a mix of scheduled and charter routes, with many of them being government subsidized flying into very remote locations. A feeder program has been set up with Garuda Indonesia in order to reach the farthest corners of the country. Susi Air now conducts over 200 flights a day, making it one of the biggest part 135 operators in Indonesia.

Today the total fleet stands at around 50 aircraft, of which around 35 are Caravans, most with the Garmin G1000 avionics suite. These are flown with 2 crew in a multi-crew environment adhering to strict company SOP’s. The company also owns and operates 3 Piaggio Avanti for corporate and medivac flying, 6 Pilatus Porter for mountain flying in Kalimantan and Papua, and 2 helicopters based in Jakarta. More Porters and Caravans are on their way, and rumours of 3 Dornier 228’s arriving soon, persist.

Susi Air has been going through a tough year with the unfortunate loss of 3 aircraft and 4 crew members due to a variety of unlucky factors (weather, runway incursion, dangerous mountain ops etc). As such, a major restructuring of the company has been underway and new management and safety measurements (including internal and external audits) have been put in place to analyze and enhance the safety culture within the organization in order to live up to international standards.

With over 200 pilots working for Susi Air, most of them foreign due to the ongoing pilot shortage in Indonesia and the fact that most locals get snapped up by the airlines as soon as they graduate flying school, Susi Air is a very multi-cultural and diverse workplace. It is a great place to get hours quickly and to learn the CRM and multi-crew skills that are needed once entering the airlines. If you feel like this might be something for you, then please browse through this blog to find all the information you need.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Applying for a position with Susi Air:

All applicants when applying for a position with Susi Air must satisfy the following criteria:

  1. Hold a valid ICAO CPL(SE)+IR which is accepted by the Indonesian DGCA. Holding a multi-engine rating is a plus.
  2. Hold a valid ICAO Class 1 Medical with no restrictions.
  3. Have at least 200 hours total time (this varies according to operational requirements, sometimes guys with 200 hours are overlooked).
  4. All other licenses and documents must be current.
  5. Previously an age limit of 23 was enforced, but this seems to be quite vague as recently many guys have been hired who are younger than this.
  6. Holding a flight instructors license can be an advantage, but do bear in mind that if you state this, there is a good chance that you will be hired to help out in the training department eventually.
Send your application, along with a simple resume (no more than 1-2 pages stating your flying background) and a cover letter to one or all of the following emails:

It usually takes a while for them to get back to you, expect anywhere from 3-6 weeks. They will then send you a document package that you are required to fill out. Based on that they will then invite you to the interview in Indonesia. More on that later!

Introduction to the Susi Air Blog

Good afternoon everyone!

Susi Air has long been a great opportunity for low hour CPL pilots fresh out of flight school and even as a stepping stone for pilots with a few more hours. Flying new Cessna Grand Caravan C208B G1000's in and around Indonesia in a multi-crew, full SOP environment has meant that many Susi Air pilots have become very attractive to airlines once they leave Susi Air. As such it is a great stepping stone and a good kick starter for any young pilot's career!

 I am setting up this blog due to the constant stream of emails and Facebook enquiries I get every week from young wannabees looking for a job with Susi Air. I figured that by making a blog and cramming as much information about the company, its recruitment process, life as a Susi Air pilot, terms and conditions, many guys will get the answers they are looking for all in one place.

 Good luck and I hope you find what you are looking for in your flying career :-)