Is now a good time to start training to become an airline pilot?
With all the headlines in the last year you would automatically think that now is a terrible time to start your training but as with most things in aviation it is not that simple.
Airlines were forced to ground the majority of their scheduled flights and governments banned all but the most essential of travel, stopping most holiday plans and business trips. The knock-on effect of this is that Airlines have been forced to furlough or let go a large number of their pilots.
At the present time (March 2021) there is very little flying going on and a large number of unemployed pilots, all with more experience than you, that are applying for the tiny number of jobs currently available.
From reading the above you would think it is a simple “no” to answer the question but you have to take into account that with the huge pent-up demand for holidays and travel in general, airlines are likely to re-hire very quickly (some have already started) to meet that demand. They cannot afford to miss the opportunity to recover at least some of the huge losses they have made by being grounded and maybe take some customers from their rivals.
Another thing to consider is that even if you start training now you will not finish your training for 14-18 months and this is before you start your airline specific training which could last another 4- 6 months. So even if you start today it could be the Spring of 2023 before you start flying passengers for an airline and I’m sure you would agree that the world will likely be a very different place by then.
It is worth noting that the demand for General Aviation (Private jets and the like) has been growing during the pandemic, presenting some fantastic opportunities to those wanting to work in this area.
This is of course just one point of view, please make sure you do your own research and take market conditions into account before beginning your training, timing plays a big part in securing your first flying job. Remember there are times in your training where you can slow things down if needed but it is very difficult to speed things up.
If you would like to discuss this or anything else aviation related, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Accountable Manager of BSA’s Pilot Training