This article explores Caribbean flying jobs and if there’s potential for you to one day take to the skies over paradise. What is involved? Read on..
Introduction – Caribbean Flying Jobs
When it comes to Caribbean flying jobs there are opportunities that can take you to an international airport or just simply island hopping. You can fly with one of the major carriers in the Caribbean or fly tourists around islands such as Antigua and Barbuda and Trinidad and Tobago. The Caribbean has been a place for pilots to come and enjoy living in a different country and culture. A different country and culture that many see as ‘heaven’ if you enjoy white, sandy beaches, sunny weather and clear blue water. The Cayman Islands, St. Lucia, San Juan, Barbados, Virgin Islands, take your pick.
The Caribbean has many countries that all offer a slightly different slice of paradise. Check out the Wikipedia1 page that details the astonishing amount of countries that make up the Caribbean part of Latin America.
How do you become a Caribbean pilot?
To become a pilot in the Caribbean you will firstly need flight experience with minimum qualifications and with the minimum number of hours typically being around 3000 hours for most flight operators in the region. This experience will also have to be synonymous with the type of plane you’ve flown before, and engine type. Obviously, it goes without saying that you will need your relevant licences too.
Above all of the requirements however, it is recommended by those in the business that you actually get boots on the ground first. This would require a valid work permit or visa to begin with. From there, applicants can apply directly for pilot jobs at a local airline.
There are jobs out there however where your employer can provide qualified candidates with a work permit and/ or visa if you are applying offshore. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on job ads and there are ways you can sign up for a latest job alert with certain carriers. You’ll also need to undergo a medical in the country you will be flying in to ensure that you are fit to fly.
It’s also highly recommended that you become familiar with the local flying laws and relevant federal aviation regulations of the country you’ll be flying in before you apply for a job there, as well as complete all required qualifying training events.
“There’s definitely healing properties to being in proximity to the ocean and that breeze. There’s something about that Caribbean climate and humidity.”Johnny Depp
How much do pilots make in the Caribbean?
The website payscale can give you a (very) high-level overview of what pilots can earn flying in the Caribbean. You can check out that link here2. The very brief overview shows that Caribbean flying jobs can earn you anywhere from US$23,000 to US$113,000 with the average salary being US$52,029.
Your salary would entirely depend on factors such as your experience, seniority, type of flying (whether that’s commercial, cargo, etc), position (co-pilot, single-pilot operations, pilot in command, etc), company, etc. There are a varying number of factors that would determine your pay.
To get a more accurate view, this website3 shows you the figures if you were to be a pilot in Trinidad and Tobago, which seems to be on the lower-paying end of Caribbean flying jobs. Here it states that an average salary for a pilot in Trinidad and Tobago is $228,000 Trinidad and Tobago Dollar, or US$33,574. You do have to take into account the cost of living however, with the cost of living in Trinidad and Tobago 40% lower than that in New York City.
What is involved in being a Caribbean pilot?
Not to be confused with Pirates of the Caribbean, Pilots of Caribbean have some of the more envious jobs in the industry if flying around tropical islands is your thing. Antigua, St. Maarten, St. Lucia and the Bahamas are just a selection of tropical paradises that you can be flying into, out of or around and over. One of the region’s big carriers, Caribbean Airlines for example, has international flights from Toronto, Florida (Fort Lauderdale) and New York.
So don’t think if you get one of the Caribbean flying jobs out there that your international flying days are over, as they don’t have to be!
Are there low hour pilot jobs in the Caribbean?
There may be some low hour pilot jobs in the Caribbean, however you may have to search harder for them. Some locals recommend that you, as mentioned previously, are better to get your boots on the ground first before you start searching for low-hour pilot jobs. This is because a company will likely not be willing to invest in the relevant visa/ work permit processes for a pilot with low hours – it depends on their crew training budget, and your national origin, among other factors. Some of the best Caribbean flying jobs can be for low-hour pilots, however.
Some small turboprop operators offer flights for tourists, whether it’s island-hopping or tourist flights. These operators offer your best chance of gaining a Caribbean job. This link here4 lists all of the small turboprop operators that offer jobs in the Caribbean. It also tells you which carriers are actively hiring or receiving applications at the least. Take a look and maybe you can secure one of your dream Caribbean flying jobs, even if you have low flying hours!
Is it hard to get a pilot job in the Caribbean?
The answer is yes if you’re a pilot from overseas. You’ll likely have to choose a destination to live first and then actively seek employment with one of the air carriers once there. The visa and work permit application process can be daunting, as is living in a new country and soaking up a new culture. However, the actual requirements to gain employment as a pilot in the Caribbean is fairly similar to other places in the world. There is a global pilot shortage at the moment though, so your chances may be improved. Tropic Ocean Airways7 certainly highlights Equal Employment Opportunity on their website;
“It is the policy of Tropic Ocean Airways to provide equal employment opportunity (EEO) to all persons regardless of age, color, national origin, citizenship status, physical or mental disability, race, religion, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, genetic information, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. In addition, Tropic Ocean Airways will provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities.”flytropic.com/careers7
This link6 is the website for the immigration department for Antigua and Barbuda. Follow the link to gain more insight into the process and requirements of gaining a work permit or working visa in one of the most popular Caribbean countries.
What are the best Caribbean flying jobs?
This is completely subjective, as is with anything. Are you seeking a life of flying from island to island and discovering everything that the Caribbean has to offer? Then you can find it. Do you want to work for a big carrier, still flying internationally but living in a tropical paradise? There are Caribbean flying job types that will allow you to do that too!
The best Caribbean flying jobs are the ones that appeal to the individual pilot the most. What can be said, however, is if you’re looking for something in particular, you can probably find it here. Unless that is, flying in sideways blizzard conditions with 0 visibility is your thing…there aren’t many Caribbean flying jobs that can cater for that type of pilot!
Conclusion – Caribbean Flying Jobs
Flying in the Caribbean can offer life in a tropical paradise for many pilots. See the stunning beaches, wildlife and feel the laid-back vibe of the many nation islands in the Caribbean. Live and breathe a different culture while flying over breathtaking archipelagos. Still fly to popular international destinations if you wish, with some carriers offering a flight schedule into some great North American destinations.
There are many great options available when it comes to Caribbean pilot jobs, it just depends on what your preferences are. Whether it’s flying a jet to Canada, or taking control of a small turboprop as you show tourists the best of what the Virgin Islands has to offer, there are always new opportunities enabling you to find the pilot job that will suit you.
You might also be interested in our following articles:
- Caribbean, Wikipedia. Accessed online at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caribbean#Countries_and_territories_of_the_Caribbean_today on June 2, 2023.
- Caribbean Airlines is the Caribbean’s Leading Airline 2021, Aviation Pros. Published: Oct 23, 2021. Accessed online at https://www.aviationpros.com/airlines/press-release/21243547/caribbean-airlines-caribbean-airlines-is-the-caribbeans-leading-airline-2021 on June 2, 2023.