What is the Relation Between Flight Schools and the Airline Industry
The aviation industry plays an essential role in the economy both on a national and global scale. Bringing significant income to countries through tourism, increasing trade and providing millions of jobs, anyone can fly to the destination of their choice with little fuss.
While this sector has many benefits, it functions like any other business. The top priority is to offer an outstanding service. Without highly skilled flight staff, cabin crew, maintenance staff and more, consumers simply wouldn’t buy flight tickets.
Issues facing the aviation industry and how flight schools can help
Just like many other industries, aviation is recovering from the effects of Covid 19. In the post pandemic era, there has been already a shortage of pilots occurred. Currently, this is estimated at around 800 pilots only in Europe and it is starting to build up in the broader sector. Still, there could be a significant impact on revenue and delays or even cancellations for many if the number continues to grow. Staffing projections point this out. Why does the Airline Industry face a growing deficit? Due to the following factors that we will explain in depth.
The average age of pilots
The average age of skilled pilots is generally higher compared to other sectors, with American pilots averaging 46 and European pilots tending to be around 43. With the typical retirement age being that of 65, it isn’t going to be long before staffing issues arise. As it can be challenging to get into the industry due to strict recruitment processes, there needs to be a shift in focus on how pilots are trained and hired. The good news is that airlines are now beginning to get closer to flight schools to gain access to highly skilled, younger talent pools.
Tech innovations and better-equipped planes
There will be an increase in the number of planes that feature innovative new tech and better functioning systems. In fact, studies suggest that around 58% of all fleets will belong to what’s known as “new generation aircraft” in the next decade alone. Pilots who have been in the industry for a long time may not have the necessary skills to operate more advanced planes. Hence, newer recruits will likely be more in demand.
The current training/hiring processes
One of the biggest reasons why pilots tend to be on the older side is that training can be expensive. Plus, airlines prefer to hire individuals with extensive experience under their belts. Hiring for top positions often occurs within the airlines. Many pilots are head-hunted due to their:
- flight hours
- standing in the industry
This leads to younger generations balancing the risks between education costs and the chances of landing a worthwhile role.
With these points in mind, flight schools are becoming the best solution for aspiring pilots and airlines for high-quality pilot studies. Those based in Europe are more progressive and provide more affordable training programs to enter the demanding airline industry. Many are working with airlines to create employment partnerships and build a recommendation system for graduating cadets. This allows airline recruiters to access a database of potential candidates to match better roles with limited or more specialised interests. Furthermore, sponsorships are becoming popular in the aviation industry making flight schools more accessible, so employers and graduates can find the best fit for their needs.
To some, selecting a flight school may seem like taking an easy route. The reality is that there are very few academies employing highly skilled, professional pilots and tutors teaching their programs, offering intensive top-tier courses as per airline requirements. There is no difference in regulatory approvals, however the big difference lies in quality, resources, facilities and industry accreditation. In these academies, students often have access to a more well-rounded, diverse education system compared to smaller schools.
Connecting to the wider industry
For those interested in getting into aviation, connecting with airlines, other pilots, flight staff, and important industry members can be essential. Participating in conferences and globally recognised workshops can be imperative to stay relevant and up-to-date with all the latest news and trends. Flight schools like Europe’s leading Egnatia Aviation participate in the following events:
- EATS (European Airline Training Symposium)
As Europe’s largest aviation training event, Egnatia is a key participant in the Heads of Training meeting. This year, our very own HoT will be hosting a presentation under the title: “Airlines Involvement in Ab-Initio Training: A Recipe for Success”. This event is designed both by and for industry professionals, so it’s undoubtedly a huge privilege to be involved.
The fantastic Pilot Expo is an annual event for experienced pilots, recent flight school graduates and aspiring future aviators. It is worth attending for those hoping to understand the industry better. Egnatia participates every year in the exhibition, as well as in the presentation schedule.
Athens Flying Week is one of the biggest airshows in Europe. Every year, hundreds of aviation enthusiasts stay informed with the latest updates in airline pilot training at Egnatia’s stand.
Other important events attended by Egnatia are:
- Industry workgroups (with the presence of ATPG & EASA)
- Major Airshows such as the Dubai Airshow, Aero Friedrichshafen, the Bahrain Airshow and the Kuwait Airshow
- IAAPS (International Association of Aviation Personnel Schools) annual meeting
- Pilot Careers Live; Europe’s largest independent flight training exhibition
How do flight schools benefit the airline industry?
More and more airlines are beginning to see the benefits of hiring new talent from approved flight schools. These graduates are typically taught with the expected level of professionalism, strictly following the standards and the policies of the affiliated Airline from the beginning. Apart from the technical skills which are required for the pilot’s license issue, soft-skills play a key role for 200-training hours graduates, such as decision-making, workload management, situational awareness, leadership etc.
It is a fact that aviation is one of the very few industries relying on its human staff’s skills and decision-making capabilities combined with the technical knowledge.
That means that airline pilot training may be more demanding, of a higher standard and consistency compared to other typical degrees. Airline approved flight schools work with qualified instructors using resources very close to their fleet, bridging the gap between ab-initio and commercial operators.
There is a direct focus on training, a better balance between academic learning, professionalism and a hands-on approach. Hence, graduates have a more significant advantage over those who have conducted their training in non-approved schools.
The relationship between flight schools and the airline industry continues to grow yearly. As one of the leading flight schools in Europe, Egnatia Aviation has a 95.7% employment rate having alumni flying for airlines in 61 different countries worldwide. With the continued collaboration between flight schools and airlines, the industry’s potential issues in the next couple of decades, namely staffing and relevant tech training, are looking less likely to have a critical impact on the industry.
Now is the time to join our dream team!