Why is a commercial pilot course so expensive

Pilot: dream job with expensive training

Traveling all the time and experiencing the sunrise or moonrise up close: Pilot is a coveted profession - but one that is also associated with stress, irregularities and high costs.

  • © dpa
  • © dpa
    Small workplace with great responsibility: pilots in the cockpit
Pilots travel all over the world, enjoy a high reputation and are well paid. In your job you move in an exciting field between management, technology and IT. But not everyone makes it into the cockpit. Less than one in ten applicants survives the tough selection tests. And then there are the costs of training.

Training to become a pilot costs a lot of money

If you want to become a professional pilot and fly for an airline, you have to train to become a commercial pilot and have the appropriate license. The ATPL commercial pilot license or the MPL multi-crew pilot license are required. Copilots only need a CPL, i.e. a Commercial Pilot License. The training takes place at a commercial aviation school and - depending on the school - often has to be financed by yourself. 70,000 euros are a guideline.
Lufthansa operates its own flight school in Bremen. The theoretical and practical training usually takes two years, and four years in combination with a degree. An entry age of over 30 is considered to be "poor opportunity". The Federal Aviation Office provides information on recognized training companies on the Internet. This also includes private flight schools that offer appropriate courses. The Bundeswehr also trains pilots. Anyone who goes this way must, however, commit themselves for several years before switching to civilian working life is possible.

Lufthansa pays for the training

Lufthansa bears a large part of the costs for the training. To do this, the pilots have to fly for the airline or one of its subsidiaries for several years and thus pay off the training costs. For this, a fixed amount is deducted from the salary every month.
The modular structure of the training at a private flight school allows the necessary certificates to be made one by one - and paid for. Under certain circumstances, student pilots can apply for student loans or deduct the cost of training from tax. If you want to complete your training at a private flight school in one go, you can often not avoid taking out a loan.

Aptitude test and health check

The ideal way to get into the cockpit is through an aptitude test at the aerospace psychology department at the German Aerospace Center in Hamburg. The so-called DLR test, which includes tests on memory, reaction speed, knowledge of English and mathematical, physical and technical knowledge, is considered to be very reliable. Conflict and teamwork skills are also checked. Candidates are only allowed to take the DLR test once.
The aviation doctor also has a say. Poor eyesight can become a problem, even those who are color blind do not get any further. In addition to a physical exam and history, blood and urine tests are also scheduled. If the applicant is fit, an aviation medical certificate will be issued.

Pilot: job description and requirements

Not only flying itself is a challenge for pilots. the idea that the pilot gets on an airplane and takes off is certainly wrong. Pilots organize the flight sequence from take-off to landing and coordinate all relevant data for the flight. Driving the aircraft only takes up around 30 percent of the working time.
Representing the stand and the airline are also part of the job description: pilots slip into the role the public would like to see them in. You have to be good with people. Because the teams are always reassembled for the routes. Pilots have to accept irregular working hours and long absences.

Salary and career entry for pilots

The starting salary at Lufthansa is around 60,000 euros gross per year including shift allowance. In addition, there is a variable remuneration component, from which the debts from the training period must be paid off. With other airlines it is often less - the low prices of the low-cost airlines also have an effect on the pilot's salaries. With Ryanair, captains get around 50,000 euros and co-pilots only 25,000 euros gross.
The young professionals also work as simulator pilots, speakers or are placed with other airlines. It is extremely rare for a pilot to seek his luck in a completely different profession because he cannot initially find a job. Once you've been there, you won't give up again.

Source: BerlinOnline / dpa

| Updated: Wednesday April 14, 2021 10:36 p.m.

Aviation professions