Many people dream of becoming a commercial pilot, working for the airlines, flying a multi-million dollar jet and being paid for flying as well as roaming around the world. However, the rise in the cost of pilot training and recent economic turmoils has put many people off. An Integrated ATPL course can cost anywhere from $70,000 – $150,000 depending on where you’re doing your training from. In today’s world, is it worth commencing your training or not? Continue reading to get my personal views.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Aviation Geeks.


Before the onset of COVID-19, airlines worldwide were seeing enormous growth yearly. Thus to cater to the increased demand, there were massive hirings for pilots depending on which country you did your training from. Many airlines have been forced to shut down altogether since the pandemic. The remaining airlines have completely stopped hiring pilots. Not only that, but a lot of flight crew have also been made redundant (fired from the airline) as there is no demand for flights. Airlines are doing what they need to survive, and the staff is suffering as a result. Currently, there is no exact estimate, but most analysts have predicted time of 2-3 years for the industry to reach pre-COVID-19 travel levels.

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In times like these, even if an airline is hiring, there are many eligible type-rated pilots available in the market. The chances of an airline choosing a freshly-graduated cadet over a type-rated pilot are slim. Before the pandemic, many MPL programs also offered a guaranteed job in an airline after the successful completion of the course. Such programs have also stopped till the foreseeable future, citing a lack of demand for pilots.

Career over Family

Although the world of flying looks glamorous from the outside, there are many realities about it not known to all. Long work hours, a virtual absence of family life, and stress – all are included in the package. Whilst that may seem ideal to some in their younger years, there comes a time in your life when you want to settle down somewhere. Being an airline pilot mostly means you missing family functions and spending a major part of the month somewhere alone in a hotel room. This also depends on which type of airline you work for, what type of routes you fly etc.

Enormous Debt

As mentioned before, pilot training can cost anywhere from $70,000 to $150,000 or more depending on where you choose to do your training. Many students tend to look for student loans to help finance this cost. Your debt will keep on piling up if you don’t get employed after getting your license. Similarly, you’ll initially have no proper source to pay it off, which can be frustrating for many. There is the possibility of taking different odd jobs from time to time to keep a basic flow of cash coming in. However there’s a slim chance you’ll be able to use that to pay off your debt.

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Are You Dedicated Enough?

These are just some of the factors that you need to consider if you’re deciding to start your commercial pilot training in 2020. Yes, it is possible that by the time you graduate, things might be much better, but that is only speculation. Even after 7 months since the pandemic started, we still have no estimate of how long this situation will last. If you are indeed passionate about the profession and don’t see yourself anywhere else, don’t hesitate and start your training. However, be mentally prepared for the challenges that’ll lie ahead – especially once you graduate and get your license.

Personally, I always believed that opportunities are always present for those dedicated and passionate enough to find them. Hopefully, everything will work out in the end! You’ll be seated in the right seat of a cockpit before you know it!

Have you decided to start your commercial pilot training? Let us know in the Comments section below.

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