How to fund pilot training
Securing funding is usually the biggest challenge for any aspiring pilot. With training costs currently reaching between £65,000 and £112,000 and no airlines willing to pay for the complete training, despite a global shortage of pilots, individuals are left with little option other than to secure funding themselves.
In limited circumstances, an airline may act as a guarantor against a loan, however the aspiring pilot will still need to pay for the integrated training. Currently BA and Virgin offer this scheme, but there are limited spaces and the slots are very over-subscribed. This is a good first option for pilots seeking funding , especially with the guarantee of employment upon completion of training.
Failing this, self-funding is the only option. You will find a guide on our website explaining the advantages and disadvantages of the Integrated and modular routes.
If you decide to take the integrated route then it will cost around £95,000 including all of the extras, a lot of money! That said, there is a pilot shortage and the starting pay with many UK airlines is around £70,000, with quick progression to captain where salaries are usually over £100,000. This could be seen as a good option when compared to UK universities where there is less promise of employment upon completion of courses and the average costs are around £50,000.
It is not possible to secure a bank loan for £95,000 without security. Normally security will be provided in the form of a property. You will need to own a house valued over £150,000 (60% LTV) or have parents that are willing for the loan to be secured against their property. This is the most common route we have seen over the last few years but there are obviously risks with this. If you don’t pass the course then you won’t get a licence, or employment. This is rare and the flying school pre-course tests are fairly accurate in determining if you have the skills to succeed. Our 4-step guide provides further advice. We can also recommend companies that have good financial schemes to help you secure funds.
Another option is to save the £95,000 before starting, but this will take a long time and may become very frustrating. Or save the majority of the costs and then top-up with a loan. This isn’t a viable option for most aspiring pilots unless they already have high paid employment or family that can lend them the funds.
If you decide to go down the modular training route (where the course is broken up into various elements) then funding does become slightly easier in that fees can be paid in stages. This used to be frowned upon by the airlines as your training record was split between various schools and it was hard to see how the individual was progressing during pilot training. However, this is becoming less of an issue as most major providers also offer modular courses and the lack of pilots has meant airlines can no longer be so fussy.
Modular courses start at around £65,000. This cost is split between numerous qualifications and ratings. You pay as you go and can shop around for the cheapest provider for each stage, from PPL to ground school, hours building, MEP, CPL, ME-IR, MCC etc. All of these terms are explained on our website. This route will probably take longer to complete and additional costs would need to be factored in, for example, living costs whilst completing the various stages.
The good news is that most airlines will now pay for your Type Rating (the course which converts your licence to the airline type you will be flying eg: Airbus, Boeing) which can cost in the region of £30,000. Most, if not all of this cost, is now being paid by the airline employing you. A huge saving in the process of becoming an airline pilot. It is worth noting that the airline will probably require a ‘bond’ period, meaning if you leave before the bond is over you will need to pay back a proportion of the Type Rating cost.
UKFlying offer advice on which training providers to use, whether it be for the integrated or modular route and how best to fund the training. Get in touch for more info, we are a free service helping aspiring airline pilots achieve their dreams.