Career News

Lufthansa keeps flight students grounded through 2020

PHOENIX - Lufthansa flight school EFA suspends all training operations "at least" until 2021 citing a second spike of Covid-19 cases in the U.S. and dire mid-term career prospects for cadet pilots. Yet, EFA remains "convinced" that job market perspectives for pilots will eventually improve along with industry recovery.

European Flight Academy

"Lack of pilot demand and operational adjustments": EFA will keep its pilot training courses closed through 2020. Students complete some parts of flight training in Arizona, but the "rapid spreading" of Covid-19 cases in southern U.S. is only one of the reasons for EFA to extend its shutdown.

Covid-19 fallout on aviation turned the pilot job marked form shortage to surplus within months and Lufthansa needs to adapt. "Group airlines will have no demand for new pilots in the forseeable future," EFA said in a statement to

About 800 students are currently enrolled with EFA. The school will not start any new courses for the time being and discuss options for a "free termination of training contracts" with students who want to reconsider their career choices and leave the programme.

Yet, it is not all gloom and doom. "We remain convinced that market demand will pick up again in the long term and this will improve career prospects for pilots," EFA said. "However, we expect that it will take several years for the international aviation industry to recover to pre-crisis levels." (2020/07/10, Image: European Flight Academy)



Job alternative: With RailTest® from pilot to train driver

In COVID-19 crisis, many pilots have to be creative when looking for a job and have to choose jobs also outside the aviation industry. One option is to switch from the air to the rail, to start as a lateral entrant as train driver after several months of training. Railway companies in the whole world have hundreds of vacancies in their cabs.

Also train drivers must pass psychological-diagnostic performance checks. To prepare for these aptitude tests, SkyTest® is launching the new RailTest® product line, to practise appropriate tests in advance. Further information on RailTest® are available at (2020/05/08).






Pilot unions vow to fight contractor schemes

LONDON - Covid-19 shakes the pilot job market. While government furlough and short-time work schemes protect airline staffers from immediate redundancies, one group faces unemployment: contract pilots. According to pilot union ECA one out five European pilots works in an atypical framework.

"Agreement terminated", "your services no longer required", "your last salary may not be paid". This is what thousands of technically self-employed contractor pilots and cabin crew have been told by airlines or staffing agencies over the past few weeks.

"Atypical employment in aviation is merely a smokescreen for regular employment with the attached responsibilities ignored," says ECA President Jon Horne. "We have often warned that these broker agency set-ups and bogus self-employment schemes create a pool of disposable workers with diminished rights and no access to labour laws."


"Experience vacuum"

In the eyes of ECA, the current crisis is a "wake-up call" that "killed the last argument that the contractor model could be in some way good" for pilots. "Any national or EU financial aid or support to airlines must be made conditional on socially responsible behaviour and acting in the public interest."


In April, Norwegian Air closed crewing agencies effectively sending 1.570 pilots and 3.130 cabin crew into unemployment. CAE Crewing Services started a dismissal process for Spanish crews of SAS Ireland.

According to an ECA estimate, nearly one out of five European pilots is on a precarious contract. With young pilots the rate comes in even higher at 40 percent.

"Right now, we see airlines with sufficient liquidity laying off atypically employed aircrew workers, just because it is easy to do so", says ECA General ECA Secretary General Philip von Schöppenthau. "Even experienced pilots will simply not manage to find a job, leaving an experience vacuum which will take years to rebuild." (2020/05/04, Image: Norwegian Air, symbolic)




United Airlines buys flight school Westwind

PHOENIX - United Airlines expects to hire more than 10,000 pilots throughout the 2020s. The U.S. industry behemoth ventures into flight training to hedge its cockpit staffing needs.

Demographics were in key driver behind United`s decision to buy Phoenix-based Westwind School of Aeronautics as half of its pilots will turn or apporach 65 by 2029 - the mandatory retirement age for pilots flying in the United States.

Westwind - rebranding as "United Aviate Academy" is expected to churn out more than 300 young pilots into United`s fleets in its first year of operation under the new owner.

United Airlines Boeing 737-900ER

"The United Aviate Academy will give the airline more visibility and direction over the recruitment, development and training of future pilots, enabling United to increase the percentage of women and minorities who become pilots," United said in a statement. The airline will facilitate financing for its academy`s students. (2020/02/06, Image: Boeing)

JetBlue Airways looking for pilot talent

NEW YORK - JetBlue Airways is closing in on 2019 admissions to its flight training program "Gateway Select" - the fast track to a cockpit job with the airline.


JetBlue Airways became the first major American airline to venture into ab initio pilot training in 2017 with its "Gateway Select" courses. After completing initial flight training and an "airline preparation course", students will work at CAE flight training as instructors to collect 1,500 flight hours - an FAA requirement for all airline pilots - before joining JetBlue Airways as First Officers.

"Gateway Select" tuition is 110,000 US Dollars. Yet, JetBlue Airways provides financing through Wells Fargo and US Credit.

The 2019 application window closes September 20th.
Admission to the program is subject to a successful participation in an online and on-site assessment process. The 3,5 year "Gateway Select" program is open to applicants who are eligable to work in the US and will be at least 23 years of age upon completion. (2019/09/10, Image: JetBlue)

Meet SkyTest and SkyJobs at Be a pilot Screening Day 2019

Be-a-pilotAir traffic growth stimulates pilot demand among airlines. While airline-mentored ab initio programs return to the flight training market, independent flight schools offer alternative and attractive paths into the industry.

SkyTest will co-host Be a pilot Screening Day 2019 in Frankfurt/M, Germany - a one-day venue with an FTO exhibition site and expert presentations on the current flight training landscape.

Date: Oct. 12th 2019, 10.00 - 17.00
Place: The Squaire, Frankfurt Airport, Germany
Website: (German)

Ryanair taps flight training market to attract new pilots

LODZ - Ryanair ventures into ab initio pilot training. Polish FTO Bartolini Air will train up to 300 cadets on behalf of Ryanair over the course of the next four years.


Ryanair adds ab initio flight training to its pilot training and supply strategy. Bartolini Air won a Ryanair mandate to train cadets at its Lodz facilities for the airline. According to a Ryanair statement the "Air Mentored Pilot Training" programme will process 300 future pilots through 18 months of "intensive" flight training, a Boeing 737 type-rating and Ryanair cockpit job.



"Being recognized by Europe’s leading airline is a milestone for Bartolini Air. It undoubtedly proves the quality of our training and the high level of skills of our cadets," said Bartolini Air CEO Izabela Konopinska. The FTO will start accepting applications in the next few weeks.


Like all European airlines Ryanair faces a hiring bottleneck caused by an industry-wide pilot shortage. Ryanair expects to hire up to 1,000 new pilots every year until 2024 to support fleet and network growth plans. (2019/07/22, Image: Ryanair)



Turkish Airlines to accept cadets up to 30

ISTANBUL - Turkish Airlines still has some spots to fill in its 2019 ab initio flight training programme. While some restrictions apply, the airline will accept applications from potential cadets up to the age of 30 years.

Turkish Airlines is looking for future First Officers. The airline invites Turkish citizen or blue card holders with certain qualifications to apply for flight school enrollment by August 30th 2019. Admission is subject to a successful participation in an evaluation process that includes an English test, health check, CRM test, job interview and an DLR pilot aptitude screening.

We recommend SkyTest® Preparation Software for DLR 1 Screening to prepare for the aptitude tests - discounts are available on request. (2019/06/19, Image: Turkish Airlines)

Turkish Airlines

WDL Aviation and LGW consolidate pilot recruitment

HAMBURG - German wet-lease operators WDL Aviation and LGW consolidate their pilot recruitment and screening process with Interpersonal.


Zeitfracht completed the acquisition of LGW from Lufthansa Group (Eurowings) in April 2019. Along with WDL Aviation the Berlin-based logistics company now operates two airlines with a mixed wet-lease fleet of Embraer E190, BAe 146 and Bombardier DHC8 aircraft.




Current Zeitfracht pilot vacancies include Captain and First Officer assignments within the Embraer and BAe fleets at the Cologne base of WDL Aviation and First Officer assignments within the LGW Dash 8 fleets based in Dusseldorf and Stuttgart. Pre-hiring screenings for both Zeitfracht airlines are arranged by Interpersonal in Hamburg.


We recommend SkyTest® Preparation Software for IP-BQ (Basic Qualification) to prep for the aptitude tests of the multi-stage screening process. (2019/05/02, Image: Eurowings)



AirAsia still looking for 2019 student pilots

KUALA LUMPUR - AirAsia easily makes it into the list of the most successful airline ventures in Asia. The airline still accepts applications for its 2019 ab initio pilot training scheme.


"You can have all the money you want in the world, and you can have all the brilliant ideas - but if you do not have the people, forget it," says AirAsia founder Tony Fernandes. To support continued fleet and schedule growth at Asia`s largest low-cost airline, AirAsia trains student pilots in its own MPL programme to fly Airbus A320s later on.

The 2019 course still has some spots left to fill. Applicants need to have Malaysian citizenship, be between 18 and 28 years of age and must fit certain health requirements. More information about joining AirAsia and the screening process is available here. (2019/03/20)


Airbus to provide ab initio training in Europe

TOULOUSE - Airbus develops its Cassidian Aviation Training Services arm into a flight school. A new ab initio programme will accomodate up to 200 flight students per year in Airbus-centric courses.

"In order to meet the high market demand for cadet pilot training in Europe - 94,000 new pilots over the next 20 years . Airbus has decided to open its own flight academy and extend its training services offering by adding ab-initio to its portfolio," the manufactures said in a statement.

Leveraging cross-divisional synergies, the "Airbus Flight Academy Europe", based in Angoulême, France, will use Airbus standardised instructors to deliver the ab-initio Pilot Cadet Training programme approved by EASA at the end of 2018, complementing the intermediate and advanced training phases that are already available and provided in the existing training network on 17 sites worldwide.


The Airbus Flight Academy Europe aims to train up-to 200 pilot cadets annually. Using a modern fleet of both single and multi-engine aircraft equipped with full digital cockpit technology as well as the latest flight simulators, the training programme will equip students with the skills and mind-set required to become “operationally-ready pilots" focusing on the all-important development of key pilot technical and behavioral competencies.

The Airbus Pilot Cadet Training Programme is open to high school graduates over 18 years old worldwide. Candidates will undergo online and on-site screening tests before being eligible for training which will include 750 hours of ground school, plus 200 hours of flight training. (2019/02/28)

Lufthansa to expand EFA beyond 500 students

GOODYEAR - Lufthansa will admit 500 flight students into its 2019 ab initio courses. The airline hopes to attract more female cadets.

European Flight Academy (EFA) - the flight training arm of Lufthansa Group - enrolled 450 new students in 2018. "We are looking to surpass last year`s record with 500 flight students in 2019," an EFA spokesperson said. Along with a growing pilot demand at all Lufthansa group airlines EFA may even "go beyond this number in the years to come".

One in seven EFA students is female. While EFA calls its 15 percent female cadet demographic "high" among industry peers it admits more need to be done "to increase this number and attract more girls and women to persue the pilot profession".

Lufthansa operates six pilot training centers in Germany, Switzerland and the US. Several of the 150 EFA instructors are active Lufthansa pilots. (2019/02/26)




Singapore Airlines starts 2019 ab initio recruitment

SINGAPORE - Singapore Airlines accepts flight student applications. The ab initio training scheme is the fast lane into a cockpit of Singapore Airlines or Silkair.

As airlines in Asia-Pacific face a pilot shortage, Singapore Airlines boosts its ab initio training. The 2019 application process comprises a preliminary interview, aptitude tests, a final interview and a medical check-up. Flight students admitted to Singapore Flying College will undergo flight training in Singapore and oversea facilities and graduate with either an ATPL or MPL.

Unlike other airlines, Singapore Airlines pays its flight students a monthly allowance to cover living expenses. Graduates will start their careers as First Officers with Singapore Airlines or Silkair. (2019/01/21, Image: Singapore Airlines)


Lufthansa: 450 flight students enrolled at EFA in 2018

ROSTOCK - Lufthansa resumed its ab initio pilot training program with a record of 450 cadets at its new European Flight Academy (EFA) flight school.

"Recruitment and training of new pilots for Lufthansa Group" cockpits was the focus in the first full year of the relaunch, said Ola Hansson, Head of Lufthansa Aviation Training. With 450 young women and men enrolling in Lufthansa MPL and ATPL courses in 2018, EFA still has room to grow - eventually, Lufthansa targets up to 650 cadets per year according to insiders.

Lufthansa effectively suspended its ab initio pilot training in 2014 and sent graduates of its former NFF program into a holding pattern over a clash with its pilot union. With a looming pilot shortage in Europe, Lufthansa reinstated its pilot courses in broad scale to support the recruitment needs of its group airlines - and invested in a new training fleet.


30 Cirrus SR20 and Diamond DA-42 replaced the F33 Bonanza and Piper PA44 training fleets at the EFA Goodyear (Arizona, United States) and Rostock (Germany) facilities.

Lufthansa offers financing plans to cover 100,000 EUR in tuition fees. Vienna based group member Austrian Airlines even returned to a co-sponsored plan to attract new pilots into its cockpits.

We recommend SkyTest® Preparation Software for DLR 1 Screening (BU/GU) and SkyTest® Preparation Software for IP-BQ (Basic Qualification) to prep for 2019 EFA admission screenings. (2018/12/19, Image: Lufthansa)

Airbus ventures into ab initio pilot training

TOULOUSE - Airbus and the French Civil Aviation University, ENAC, have obtained EASA certification for a co-developed ab initio Pilot Cadet Training Programme that will be used by a worldwide network of partner flight schools, starting with the first customer Escuela de Aviacion Mexico (EAM) in Mexico city early 2019.

Airbus tackles a looming pilot shortage with a flight training initivative. "Pilot Cadets worldwide will now be able to benefit from a complete and fully integrated Airline Transport Pilot Licence programme built upon Airbus’ high safety and reliability standards and extensive experience in pilot training," Airbus said in a statement.

The Airbus Pilot Cadet Training Programme aims to equip cadets with the skills and mind-set required to become an "operationally-ready pilot" focusing on the all-important development of key pilot technical and behavioural competencies.

"The programme reflects, not only Airbus’ commitment to supporting the safe operation of all its aircraft, but also supports airline customers in contributing to the long-term availability of qualified pilots, helping to meet the growing demand forecast for more than 500,000 pilots over the next 20 years," according to Airbus.

The programme will be open to young people over 18 years old who have graduated from high school. Candidates will undergo online and on-site screening tests before being eligible for training, which will include 750 hours of ground school, plus 200 hours of flight training. (2018/12/06)



Air Dolomiti to launch cadet programme with EFA

VERONA - Air Dolomiti is cleared for growth. The Italian arm of Lufthansa will double its fleet by 2023 and starts a cadet training programme to support its pilot demand.

As Alitalia and Lufthansa seem unlikely to strike a deal, Lufthansa decided to bolster its own group presence in Italy. Air Dolomiti will source 15 Embraer E195 120 seater aircraft from Lufthansa Cityline and grow its fleet from 12 to 26 aircraft between 2019 and 2023. A separate flight school programme flanks the fleet expansion strategy.

Air Dolomiti

"In particular, for flying personnel, a cutting-edge programme is planned which has never before been done in Italy: the conception of an Air Dolomiti Flying Academy, thanks to which, new pilots will be trained, in cooperation with Lufthansa Aviation Training and the European Flight Academy - EFA," Air Dolomiti said.

Air Dolomiti will finance it in part, offering scholarships to allow the cadets to take on a training curriculum. "An agreement is in the conclusive stages with a major banking institute in order to provide assistance to the aspiring pilots", according to Air Dolomiti.

Admission is subject to passing an initial screening with specific tests such as the DLR in Hamburg, Germany in English and psychological and behavioural tests to then continue preparation in compliance with the Lufthansa Group standards. (2018/10/24, Image: Air Dolomiti)

More female pilots: Austrian unveils 2019 recruitment targets

VIENNA - Austrian Airlines ramps up its 2019 pilot recruitment. The Austrian Lufthansa Group airline is in the market for 100 ready entry pilots and will admit nearly the same number of cadets to its 2019 flight training programme. The offerings target women in particular.

"Four so-called ab initio courses will be offered in 2019, each with 24 training positions for interested candidates without previous flight experience," Austrian said in a statement.

Admission requirements include EU citizenship, a secondary school leaving certificate, a secondary school vocational certificate, or the subject-related university entrance qualification of the country of origin.

Austrian wants to attract more women for its cockpits in the 2019 hiring spree. "Over the last three years, the percentage of female pilots at Austrian Airlines has risen from three percent in 2015 to the current level of five percent," Austrian said. "This is a positive development. However, it also demonstrates that women are still strongly underrepresented in this profession." (2018/10/19)

Pilots in high demand

FRANKFURT - Amid a vibrant aviation market airlines brace for one of their greatest concerns: pilot shortage. The industry needs to attract 600,000+ new pilots by 2035 to support a projected 100 percent growth of global air traffic.

Pilots are in high demand already - currently lists more than 500 pilot vacancies. Several airline majors - Lufthansa, Emirates, Qantas, American and Jetblue Airways to mention just a few - either revived to launched ab initio pilot training programmes. Yet, ATPL training at an independent flight school remains an attractive option in the current market environment.

The flight school expo Be a pilot Screening Day 2018 will gather flight schools, flight training experts and prospective flight students Oct. 20th in Frankfurt. and SkyTest will co-host the venue that addresses all aspects of pilot ab inito training:

  • how do I pick my flight school?
  • what are my financing options?
  • what medical aspects do I need to consider?
  • how do I land a job with an airline?


Condor A320 Captain Moritz Schmiede will give a presentation on the Condor ab initio programme CAP in Frankfurt. Meet major flight schools on-site and take a free SkyTest pilot aptitude screening - Be a pilot Screening Day 2018 is open at The Squaire, Frankfurt Airport, Oct. 20th 10.00am - 5.00pm. Admission is 8.00 EUR in advance ticket purchase and 12.00 EUR on-site. (2018/10/02)

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