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Costs & Funding

Courses to the point of licence issue will typically cost between £60k and £100k, plus living costs. Scholarships are available for some elements of modular training, such as ground school and a Private Pilot’s Licence. Very few airline schemes will fund the cost of training for those accepted onto their schemes. 

Typically, airline ‘schemes’ will consist of a ‘sponsored’ ATPL or MPL, with the sponsorship taking the form of provisional job offers upon completion of training, whilst requiring the cadet to shoulder the cost of training. Fewer bank loans are available than they have been in the past, and it is still a popular choice for trainees to get private loans from the bank of mum and dad...

The total cost of your pilot journey, will also include the cost of Type Rating, which is an aircraft-specific course, only undertaken upon securing an airline job. The cost of these will range from around £15k to £40k, and each employer will have a different ‘deal’. Typical arrangements are that a pilot is bonded for the cost of the type rating, a bond that diminishes with services or disappears after a length of time. Others will require the trainee to pay upfront.

Professional flight training is one of the most expensive investments you’ll ever make. Whichever route you choose, make sure that your investment is secure by taking these steps:

■ Research your chosen Approved Training Organisation (ATO). How long has it been trading? Does it have any history of financial problems? What links does it have with major airlines? Most ATOs operate on a strong financial footing, but sadly it isn’t unknown for an ATO to go under, sometimes taking their students’ money with them.

■ Pay module-by-module, rather than all up-front. Even integrated courses offer a pre-designated schedule to draw down payments in instalments over the period of your training.

■ Does your chosen ATO offer a payment protection programme? These guarantee to refund a percentage of your fees, should you fail to reach the required standard. 

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