In the last couple of years the headlines of aviation media are fraught with statistics on the current lack of pilots and an increasing demand for the professionals in the field. However, in reality, when interviewing fresh ATPL graduates, it comes to light that one of the major factors in determining a successful pilot career is the steps that a candidate takes whilst entering the aviation job market. Pilots must decide whether to pay for their type training courses themselves or attempt to find training finance from external sources.
According to the Boeing Market Outlook 2011-2030, commercial airlines will expand their fleets by adding more than 39500 airplanes over the next 20 years. This will cause a sharp upturn in pilot demand. In fact, the industry will have to employ a total of approx. 460 000 of pilots. While current statistics are very promising, airlines keep the requirements for new pilots as strict as ever. It is highly unlikely that they will lower the bar in the future either – after all, an impeccable reputation of the company should never be at stake.
Baltic Aviation Academy has recently conducted a survey and questioned 5 airlines in order to establish which qualities and how much of experience should a candidate pilot possess in order to make him stand out during the employment process. 90% of the respondents confirmed, that one of the key aspects for a pilot is experience that must comprise at least 500 flight hours. 75% of the respondents have stressed the importance of meticulous preparation including a well thought-through CV, dressing up for an interview and consistent behaviour that can turn out to be critical factors. Some of the questioned professionals have even mentioned that if a CV does not contain all the essential data in the beginning, they might skip reading the remaining information altogether. 60% of the respondents have pointed out, that in order to become a pilot a candidate must try to find a job in any kind of an airline and agree to any type rating training offered.
‘After finishing a typical qualification training program I had been looking for a job for 2 years; however after a number of interviews and sent resumes I came to an understanding that it could last indefinitely. I decided to adopt a different strategy – I am currently working as a theoretical instructor in an initial pilot training school. The experience will make me stand out from other candidates when applying for a job in airlines. I have considered signing a long-term contract that would grant ongoing employment in airlines; however, I prefer steering my career and future on my own terms without being bound by contracts,’ explained the theoretic instructor of the ATPL study module group Nariman Moghadam.
“I had been looking for a job in and outside of Europe for quite a while – I had sent hundreds of CVs, for both the largest European airlines and regional carriers. However, despite having the best grades on your diploma, excellent language skills and perfect recommendations, regardless of the economic situation, the only chance for a young inexperienced pilot like me to get a job solely relies on cadet programs. Convenient payment option in the form of a loan is an exceptionally attractive option for many pilots who would otherwise struggle to continue their training and gain the desired qualification or have to postpone their studies due to financial reasons”, explained the cadet pilot A. Patino.
So which way to aviation is the best? A decision must be made after carefully weighing the pros and cons of every one of them. A candidate must also take into consideration his own set of expectations. After all, among the key qualities employers look for in a pilot logical thinking and decisiveness are at the top of the list. They will surely come in handy when determining one’s future in the aviation industry.