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Are airlines still employing grads from smaller schools?

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Are airlines still employing grads from smaller schools?

Old 7th Sep 2023, 11:34
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Angel Are airlines still employing grads from smaller schools?

Hi everyone.

I'm close to embarking on the start of ATPL training. Most likely an Integrated course at a smaller school in Greece with a good reputation, Global Aviation. I live in the UK but the courses here are outwith my budget. I also have family/accommodation in Greece and being there works for a host of reasons.

I'm aware of the issues around gaining an EASA licence while being a UK passport holder. My main concern just now is whether airlines are looking at candidates from the smaller (less expensive) schools or prioritising brand school grads. Does anyone have experiences; what type of training background are you pilots seeing coming into your airlines?

An alternative is to do the integrated course at the cheaper school and do the MCC and A-UPRT course at a better known school - e.g Airline Flight Academy for the Ryanair mentored programme or L3 Harris, thus gaining a brand school on the CV.

I'm early forties so slower pathways via the modular route are probably not ideal. Any input would be much appreciated and thanks for your time and thoughts.
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Old 8th Sep 2023, 04:15
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What makes you think modular is slower? It's actually the fastest way to get licenced.
If brand is what you care about - (you shouldn't) - you could get PPL, Night, IMC, CBIR and MEP at a regular school then do short courses (15 hour CPL and 5 hour MEIR) at a big name school.
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Old 9th Sep 2023, 20:28
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I'm in a similar position. I'm not concerned about modular taking longer, the integrated programmmes are just integrated, not accelerated. I'm sure I can qualify within 18 months, subject to unforseen issues.

I am concerned about job opportunities though. I'm struggling to find many airlines currently hiring fresh modular pilots. The BA NQPP doesn't seem to be open to new applicants after being only recently announced (am I wrong about this? There is info on their website but no application route for it). Several airlines (ba, tui, easyjet) have their own cadet routes, is this going to crowd out their interest in modular students?

Am I missing something? How many opportunities are there out there for fresh modular graduates right now? Are the airlines picking up cadets from the integrated schools to save the cost and bother of running open hiring campaigns to find modular students?
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Old 10th Sep 2023, 08:06
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Modular also spares you from the inevitable downfall of an integrated school when they fail financially.. you can just pay as you go keeping your money safe.
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Old 10th Sep 2023, 11:04
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We could argue about the inevitability of integrated schools failing financially. I think this subject is covered in a lot of detail in other threads about modular vs integrated.

This thread is more about what opportunities there are in airlines for modular students graduating from smaller schools. Keeping your money safe is of very little value if you end up with over £50k of debt and can't get an interview.
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Old 10th Sep 2023, 13:19
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Originally Posted by rudestuff
What makes you think modular is slower? It's actually the fastest way to get licenced.
If brand is what you care about - (you shouldn't) - you could get PPL, Night, IMC, CBIR and MEP at a regular school then do short courses (15 hour CPL and 5 hour MEIR) at a big name school.
I don't mean to suggest modular is always slower. I've read through lots of the forum trying to gather knowledge and build an accurate picture of an industry that I currently have no first hand knowledge of. Wannabies in my situation (bit older) are often advised to keep working and do modular over a longer period. This is something I'd prefer to avoid.

The question in my mind is around employment prospects. Let's say I work my ass off and do well - whether modular or integrated. Are there strong employment opportunities for those with a fATPL from smaller schools? Trying to build a picture of the landscape. I see job ads posted where, in theory, I could reach interview. But there's also voices saying it's the big schools that are filling these posts in reality. Any insights are much appreciated. Thanks folks.
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Old 10th Sep 2023, 14:35
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Sorry, I was answering Rudestuff above, ref Modular..
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Old 10th Sep 2023, 18:56
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No you're right, I didn't mean to be dismissive. I agree about the financial risk. Whether or not the schools are likely to go bump any time soon, the amount required to stake upfront is a big risk.

I'm just hoping to hear some reassuring input about all the job opportunities out there!
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 13:25
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Flying has always been a risky investment.. not everybody makes it and this industry is littered with broken dreams and financial losses along the way to get a career going sadly.

Just do me a favour and dont get an MPL.. thats not a real license, just a cheap way for airlines to get gear-handle operators as they are doing nothing themselves to alleviate their self-instigated problems.
#contentious oo-er handbags out
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 14:46
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Brilliant post 605carsten & regretfully so true, I have certainly heard of parents/students losing houses as they acted as guarantors to a flying loan when it didn't work out.

An appropriate day for your comment, 22 years ago I was an ATPL TKI at Oxford instructing flight planning to fully sponsored integrated courses BA & Aer Lingus cadets who thought they too had a "guaranteed job" (they don't exist) only to learn that 48 hours later following world events their sponsorship had been withdrawn & courses canceled or significantly delayed. A similar thing happened to some easyJet MPL students in 2020 the FTO then wanted stupid sums of money so they could covert to a full FrATPL. The aviation/pilot market can turn on a sixpence (showing my age) usually due to external international events, oil crisis of 1970s, 9/11, Covid, or poor airline management etc. Anybody embarking on such training needs to be fully aware to the risks & try to mitigate accordingly (back up plan/career).
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Old 12th Sep 2023, 10:59
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Thanks for all the responses! Much appreciated.

From the outside, it's clear aviation is highly cyclical. Once in the industry, I can only imagine some of the highs and lows. I guess we all need a bit of luck, or at least the avoidance of bad luck.

Personally, I do have a back-up career and other income routes if aviation were to go horribly wrong. That said, it's helpful and important to have reminders of how essential these are across a (potential) career.

But what about the main thrust of my initial question, what are the training backgrounds of new (low hour) pilots being hired these days? Are they largely made up of the brand (most expensive) schools or are there still fair opportunities out there for equally strong candidates from the cheaper schools with good reputations?

As ever, thanks for taking the time to share your views.
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Old 12th Sep 2023, 22:27
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Maybe I can help. I was an integrated student (FLYBE MPL) that has since gone modular (thankfully).

Your question is complicated to say the least, before starting the whole manner of training is that complicated it can be difficult to wrap your head round it. When I started in the FLYBE MPL for instance, I did so on the advice that it was a guaranteed job at the end of it... we know how that turned out. There were also other issues, first of course the cost, but also the expectations, I was 27 when I started the course, with many other cadets between 18-23... they expected students to complete their ATPLs in two sittings... for some this is fine, for others like myself when you're a little older and out of practice its a tall order. Finally, there is also the issue of licensing, an MPL is useless if for instance your airline (Monarch / Flybe) go bust, yes there have been instances of these students being fed to other airlines right away or after covid, but I also know cadets who paid 100k+ and now have useless licences they can't afford to convert. They're now stuck with the debt without jobs that can pay it back in a reasonable time frame.

I got lucky... I left the MPL course before Flybe's collapse, mainly due to my issues with the ATPLS as mentioned above. From there I completed the ATPLS myself, hour build in the USA (Far more fun and cost effective, no paying for landing fees!) I then got my ME/IR CPL in Poland before the Brexit cut off (also a god send as I saved a fortune), finish with UPRT at Fowlmere in April and APS MCC in June.

So... to answer your question what's the job market like? --- Frankly a piss take. All the airlines are doing currently are; hiring ex-military (500+ hour pilots), soaking up the Covid Job losses (some lucky flybe cadets) or poaching off of Ryanair and Wizz.

The poaching is unlikely to cease, Ryan air training is top notch and pilots there often want to move to better T&Cs at other airlines asap. This means the 30K type rating at Ryan is likely here to stay, the same goes for Wizz and their bond but terrible pay. Thanks to a lack of regulation in this area airlines are free to benefit from the budget airline profiteering from their own cadets/staff... providing a constant supply of recruits to each of the airlines, whilst taking on virtually no risk to themselves for training low hour pilots, who have already paid a fortune.

Finally there are the new schemes they're all running, they are a gambit for the future, they know they cant poach off Ryanair and Wizz forever, and so are planning ahead... in a manner which again creates the least risk to themselves and with the odd exception pushes more costs onto the cadets, such as requiring an integrated course certificate instead of modular.

So either you get lucky and you get a place on a tagged integrated course and the airline doesn't go bust / there isn't another global issue. Or you go modular and suck it up and pay Ryan or take a couple years of horrendous pay at Wizz. You're spot on though seeing this before committing!

My recommendation, try for the over-subscribed courses at BA/Air Lingus but failing that go Modular, save your money for the Ryanair type rating and hour build in the states for the enjoyment, experience and its cost effective nature! Also... vetting schools is a big must, ive seen some shockers and heard of even worse.

Good luck!

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Old 13th Sep 2023, 04:36
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Originally Posted by 04jharrison
Maybe I can help. I was an integrated student (FLYBE MPL) that has since gone modular (thankfully).

Your question is complicated to say the least, before starting the whole manner of training is that complicated it can be difficult to wrap your head round it. When I started in the FLYBE MPL for instance, I did so on the advice that it was a guaranteed job at the end of it... we know how that turned out. There were also other issues, first of course the cost, but also the expectations, I was 27 when I started the course, with many other cadets between 18-23... they expected students to complete their ATPLs in two sittings... for some this is fine, for others like myself when you're a little older and out of practice its a tall order. Finally, there is also the issue of licensing, an MPL is useless if for instance your airline (Monarch / Flybe) go bust, yes there have been instances of these students being fed to other airlines right away or after covid, but I also know cadets who paid 100k+ and now have useless licences they can't afford to convert. They're now stuck with the debt without jobs that can pay it back in a reasonable time frame.

I got lucky... I left the MPL course before Flybe's collapse, mainly due to my issues with the ATPLS as mentioned above. From there I completed the ATPLS myself, hour build in the USA (Far more fun and cost effective, no paying for landing fees!) I then got my ME/IR CPL in Poland before the Brexit cut off (also a god send as I saved a fortune), finish with UPRT at Fowlmere in April and APS MCC in June.

So... to answer your question what's the job market like? --- Frankly a piss take. All the airlines are doing currently are; hiring ex-military (500+ hour pilots), soaking up the Covid Job losses (some lucky flybe cadets) or poaching off of Ryanair and Wizz.

The poaching is unlikely to cease, Ryan air training is top notch and pilots there often want to move to better T&Cs at other airlines asap. This means the 30K type rating at Ryan is likely here to stay, the same goes for Wizz and their bond but terrible pay. Thanks to a lack of regulation in this area airlines are free to benefit from the budget airline profiteering from their own cadets/staff... providing a constant supply of recruits to each of the airlines, whilst taking on virtually no risk to themselves for training low hour pilots, who have already paid a fortune.

Finally there are the new schemes they're all running, they are a gambit for the future, they know they cant poach off Ryanair and Wizz forever, and so are planning ahead... in a manner which again creates the least risk to themselves and with the odd exception pushes more costs onto the cadets, such as requiring an integrated course certificate instead of modular.

So either you get lucky and you get a place on a tagged integrated course and the airline doesn't go bust / there isn't another global issue. Or you go modular and suck it up and pay Ryan or take a couple years of horrendous pay at Wizz. You're spot on though seeing this before committing!

My recommendation, try for the over-subscribed courses at BA/Air Lingus but failing that go Modular, save your money for the Ryanair type rating and hour build in the states for the enjoyment, experience and its cost effective nature! Also... vetting schools is a big must, ive seen some shockers and heard of even worse.

Good luck!
This is very insightful, thanks for posting. I take it then that lots of modular students are using the Ryanair route to reach 500 hours and become eligible for the low hours hiring routes that seem to be open at most other airlines right now. I guess that would be a good argument in favour of following the lowest cost modular route possible (as opposed to paying the "whitetail" schools a premium for the later phases to get introduced to recruiters). Presumably Ryanair couldn't care less about where you trained, if you're not good enough you fail the type rating and lose your £30k, no skin off their nose!

It does make a lot of sense actually. Ryanair get a regular flow of pilots willing to work hard for low salary and paying for their own training, the other airlines get to take on pilots fully trained with a bit of experience.

My only query would be how this is working given the EASA/CAA split. It sounds like you avoided this problem due to timing. I think somebody wanting to follow this route now would need to make sure they did EASA qualifications to be able to qualify for a Ryanair programme. I did notice in a call recently that BA have changed their requirements so that EASA licensed pilots can apply on the basis that their licenses would then be converted (not sure on the details for this, doesn't directly apply to me so I didn't pay full attention). Perhaps this is a direct response to having issues poaching Ryanair/Wizz pilots. Makes me think I should maybe save money on training schools and invest the extra £5k or so in getting a dual license.
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Old 13th Sep 2023, 08:59
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No problem. I wouldn't say Ryan air cadets automatically hit 500 (quick to do once you're in a Jet) and go straight to the airlines... more likely they go around 1500 hours or so maybe more, maybe less for those that do, others of course stick around for the quick captaincy and because it suits there lifestyle / basing etc.

Essentially Ryanair don't care about the school you trained at, though they are more selective when it comes to the MCC portion, actively stating that while they accept it, preference is given towards holders of APS MCCs.

Unfortunately the lack of regulation on training in the sector has allowed this to occur with cadets taking on all the risk now as opposed to some of the risk. It needs to change but it won't any time soon and certainly not if the UK CAA and EASA don't work together. The UK CAA can't even safe guard the finances of students from cowboy ATOs they're supposed to VET and sign off on.

Yes, I got lucky and finished my exams a year before the cut-off for training but Brexit cost me at least an extra 10-15k in all. Its ridiculous, UK pilots are licensed in exactly the same way as EASA pilots... yet we decided to leave the organisation despite it not even being on the ballot... that's when you know we're ran by buffoons. If you want to get dual license at the moment, the only option is to sit the ATPLS twice, UK and with a European state (usually Austro), then you can go to a school that has UK and EASA ATO status, there are now a few! They will sign the paperwork for both authorities simultaneously the only extra bit it involves is taking part of your test in EASA air space, so quick trip across the channel. This of course is harder if you're further North.

Ryan air have elected to only take EASA licences at the moment due to the UK not accepting automatic conversion of EASA licence holders since the end of the transition period... With about 10 aircraft in the UK fleet requiring UK licences, unless Ryan transfer more across to G-Reg, they're unlikely to want UK CAA licences.. it just makes things harder for them.

A UK licence is great, if you can get a tagged course with an airline, they can worry about that and you just worry about studying... however, if you go whitetail that's where your risk increases and perhaps as a brit you're better off with an EASA licence for Ryanair.. that said Duel will always be the most beneficial. Obviously do your own research and come to your own conclusions but my advise would be to apply for the free / partially paid airline schemes.. failing that go modular, get a dual licence and pay for the APS MCC and look to Ryanair / maybe Wizz.
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Old 13th Sep 2023, 17:14
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Hi 04jharrison, some excellent posts & advice.

At Ryanair you are likely to be flying around the maximum 900-1000 hours per year. It would be advisable to at least stay 2-3 years and get your full ATPL ie unfrozen, then it would be easier to move on if you wished, also you don't want to give the impression you are quick to jump ship. That said several of my former modular students have been there (Ryanair) many years as it's relative quick to get a command (5 years possible) whereas some other airlines 10 years plus.

Recently Ryanair also took a limited number of UK licensed FrATPLs supposed to be starting type rating soon.

Your last sentence sums it up well and as you said earlier avoid MPL schemes.
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Old 13th Sep 2023, 22:22
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Originally Posted by RichardH

Recently Ryanair also took a limited number of UK licensed FrATPLs supposed to be starting type rating soon.
Do you mean UK cadets? Iíve been watching their website closely to see if the requirements changed, but it still says EASA only.
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Old 14th Sep 2023, 09:47
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I think it was a direct invite to those you had applied before with UK licence but at time weren't wanted, times change.
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Old 14th Sep 2023, 11:49
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Would any of you have a view on Ryanair and Wizz's attitude towards cadet pilots over 40 years at this time? I've seen various comments suggesting this could be an automatic rejection for them, but perhaps this is one of those policies that gets dropped as demand increases.
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Old 14th Sep 2023, 13:27
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Originally Posted by 04jharrison
Maybe I can help. I was an integrated student (FLYBE MPL) that has since gone modular (thankfully).

Your question is complicated to say the least, before starting the whole manner of training is that complicated it can be difficult to wrap your head round it. When I started in the FLYBE MPL for instance, I did so on the advice that it was a guaranteed job at the end of it... we know how that turned out. There were also other issues, first of course the cost, but also the expectations, I was 27 when I started the course, with many other cadets between 18-23... they expected students to complete their ATPLs in two sittings... for some this is fine, for others like myself when you're a little older and out of practice its a tall order. Finally, there is also the issue of licensing, an MPL is useless if for instance your airline (Monarch / Flybe) go bust, yes there have been instances of these students being fed to other airlines right away or after covid, but I also know cadets who paid 100k+ and now have useless licences they can't afford to convert. They're now stuck with the debt without jobs that can pay it back in a reasonable time frame.

I got lucky... I left the MPL course before Flybe's collapse, mainly due to my issues with the ATPLS as mentioned above. From there I completed the ATPLS myself, hour build in the USA (Far more fun and cost effective, no paying for landing fees!) I then got my ME/IR CPL in Poland before the Brexit cut off (also a god send as I saved a fortune), finish with UPRT at Fowlmere in April and APS MCC in June.

So... to answer your question what's the job market like? --- Frankly a piss take. All the airlines are doing currently are; hiring ex-military (500+ hour pilots), soaking up the Covid Job losses (some lucky flybe cadets) or poaching off of Ryanair and Wizz.

The poaching is unlikely to cease, Ryan air training is top notch and pilots there often want to move to better T&Cs at other airlines asap. This means the 30K type rating at Ryan is likely here to stay, the same goes for Wizz and their bond but terrible pay. Thanks to a lack of regulation in this area airlines are free to benefit from the budget airline profiteering from their own cadets/staff... providing a constant supply of recruits to each of the airlines, whilst taking on virtually no risk to themselves for training low hour pilots, who have already paid a fortune.

Finally there are the new schemes they're all running, they are a gambit for the future, they know they cant poach off Ryanair and Wizz forever, and so are planning ahead... in a manner which again creates the least risk to themselves and with the odd exception pushes more costs onto the cadets, such as requiring an integrated course certificate instead of modular.

So either you get lucky and you get a place on a tagged integrated course and the airline doesn't go bust / there isn't another global issue. Or you go modular and suck it up and pay Ryan or take a couple years of horrendous pay at Wizz. You're spot on though seeing this before committing!

My recommendation, try for the over-subscribed courses at BA/Air Lingus but failing that go Modular, save your money for the Ryanair type rating and hour build in the states for the enjoyment, experience and its cost effective nature! Also... vetting schools is a big must, ive seen some shockers and heard of even worse.

Good luck!
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences. I found this very useful indeed. Much obliged!

And I echo Jedro's question about 40+ cadets. This is my situation also and probably my last big concern before committing to starting my course. I'd 42/43 with a fATPL. As ever, not looking for anyone to say go for it or don't, but any insights into hiring patterns etc would be great. Thanks again.
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Old 24th Sep 2023, 09:52
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Originally Posted by jedro
Would any of you have a view on Ryanair and Wizz's attitude towards cadet pilots over 40 years at this time? I've seen various comments suggesting this could be an automatic rejection for them, but perhaps this is one of those policies that gets dropped as demand increases.
The truth is nobody knows.
Open age discrimination would be illegal, but it certainly happens.

Though I do know someone in their mid-40s who got hired by Ryanair around 12 months ago or so. There was also a guy on one of Ryanair's mentored programme in his early 50s. No idea whether he is still doing the course/ has finished it/ got hired though.
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