How much does flight training cost?
The price of commercial flight training
This can vary depending on what route you decide to take.
Integrated commercial flight training (which is a full time course designed to take you from no flying experience to being able to join an airline as a First Officer – often referred to as Zero to Hero!), at a dedicated commercial flight school costs between approximately £85,000 to £110,000. At the end of the course, you will have a ‘frozen’ ATPL (Air Transport Pilots Licence), which is the licence you need to go on and pilot a commercial aircraft.
Modular flight training, where you can complete your flight training at your own pace, as and when finances allow, can cost anywhere from £40,000 to £60,000.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to Integrated and Modular flight training with each route potentially being better suited for different individuals depending on circumstances. We have a detailed article on Integrated vs Modular flight training here.
At present, most airlines expect a low hour, inexperienced pilot to fund their own ‘type rating’ after finishing flight training. A type rating is a bolt on to your frozen ATPL, allowing you to pilot a specific commercial aircraft like a Boeing 737 or Airbus 320 (you can’t just jump from one type to another without extensive retraining). This generally consists of around 40 hours simulator time and 6 take offs and landings in the commercial aircraft you are being trained to operate. You should really budget for another £30,000 to pay for a type rating once you’ve finished your training. You might get lucky if you join an airline that will pay for it, but most don’t these days unfortunately.
Therefore the minimum you should really be budgeting for is around £70,000 (around $90,000 / €80,000), but in many cases it can end up being up to £130,000 (approx $165,000 / €148,000).
The above figures are based on European flight training costs. Generally speaking it’s a bit cheaper in the USA, but then you need to acquire 1,500 total flight time before you can get a job as a First Officer with a commercial airline. In Europe you can potentially get a job straight out of flight school with the likes of Ryanair / easyJet British Airways, with 200 total flight hours.