Today I am going to tell you about the cost to become an airline pilot. I noticed that a lot of people wonder about this and have no clue about the real situation. A few months ago I made the video ‘I Am A Pilot And Incredibly Rich’ to shed some light on this subject. In the following article I will explain all these costs. Of course these are based on my own situation which means that it could be different in your case.
Hold on people, because these costs are going to blow your mind..!
The Biggest Expense
First of all, there are the costs of the pilot training itself. In every country these costs are different and therefore I can only talk about the price of an integrated program in the Netherlands. Let’s get right to it. It all depends if you follow an integrated or modular program (See Q&A Part 1). I followed an integrated program and paid around €150.000,-. What an amount of money right?! Easily said this is €105.000,- for the school and about €45.000,- for ‘living’. The living part should be used to pay for your own life support while in training, to pay the interest for the loan itself and to cover the accommodation costs. I do have to mention that in the Netherlands the training is very expensive compared to other countries. In Germany and Belgium the average is school tuition is €80.000,-. But there is more to come…
Besides the training there are a lot of additional costs for services that you require to keep your license current. The medical investigation is one of those mandatory things you need to undergo every year. In the Netherlands you pay around €200,- per year for a medical certificate. We will just go ahead and add that to the already substantial amount of invested money.
One of the terms to even get a loan to pay the tuition is to be insured by a loss of license insurance at all times. Without it, you won’t get a loan. Basically this insurance covers the loss of your medical certificate. Should you lose a leg, become ill or suffer any medial related issue that leads to your medical certificate being revoked than this insurance will cover the training expenses. The bank wants to be sure that they will get their money back in case you will lose your license and the chances of becoming an airline pilot are reduced to 0. This insurance costs about €400,- .
Multi engine instrument rating (ME/IR)
To be able/allowed to fly in a multi engine aircraft in IFR conditions and not least important: to be able to be invited for an airline interview, this is probably the number one requirement! You want to always have your multi engine instrument rating (ME/IR) current. You can renew this rating on the aircraft and every other year on the simulator. In general, a ME/IR renewal costs €1000,-. If you need an extra session to pass this checkride then of course it will be way more expensive.
Single Engine Piston (SEP)
A current multi engine instrument rating is mandatory to fly on multi engine aircraft or to apply for airlines. However, it does not automatically allow you to fly in single engine aircraft like a Cessna 172. While trying to obtain their first job at an airline, most ab initios (pilots that just finished their education) fly single engine piston aircraft to gain more flight hours and to maintain or improve their skills. It’s not mandatory to do this though. The costs; at least €300,- per 2 years and the rent of the airplane per hour + landing fees (varying between €120,- and €200,-).
Loan & interest
While reading this article you might be thinking; where does all that money come from? 95% of all people that start an integrated pilot program have a loan to finance the training. There are few people who have €150.000,- on their bank account at while in their twenties. This brings me to the next monthly expense which goes hand in hand with a loan: interest. The ABN AMRO is a dutch bank which charges an interest between 3.9% & 6.2% for this loan, depending on the time you signed the contract and the economical status. In general people pay around 4.9% of interest. Lets do some math: (150.000 X 0.049) / 12 = a lot of money! Around €600,- per month, only to keep the 150.000 euros balanced. If you are unable to pay this, it will just be added on top of the loan and you will pay even more.
In case you think we are almost done, we are just getting started!
52 thoughts on “The Real Deal: the price to become an airline pilot!”
A lot of money is involved to get and maintain the pilot license. €105.000,- for the school and about €45.000,- for ‘living’ + medical investigation €200 per year for a medical certificate + insurance costs about €400 per year + Multi-engine instrument rating (ME/IR) renewal costs €1000 per year + Single Engine Piston (SEP) costs €300 per 2 years and the rent of the airplane per hour + landing fees (varying between €120,- and €200,-) + Loan & interest 4.9% of interest (150.000 X 0.049) / 12 = €600 per year. So, we have the basic cost of the pilot training €150.000 + €2500 per year just to maintain the certificate. Wow, it is not an easy thing to be a pilot. I wonder if for the rotor – gyroplane – the expenses are the same. I would be more than happy if you could advise me on this one. Thanks!
Hey i really love your videos you are really helpful.
I’m Danish Baig from India and i will pass my high school in few months with Physics, Mathematics and English.
I want to be an airline pilot i want to do my CPL from CAE Phoenix but I’m very confused the course of Phoenix have PPL , IR , CPL and CFI CFII I’m really confused what is CFI and CFII is it necessary or after CPL i can directly do type rating and what is ATP CTP writing exams and training and after the type rating how i will get the job as first officer and few people are talking about ATPL or frozen ATPL but for ATPL we need 1500 hours every single day i have a bad headache when i think all about this I’m so confused i request you ma’am please help me please tell me what should i do please i request you .
I hope you are safe and healthy
hi my name is yada marie and I am about to become a pilot . my question is how many years does it take to become a pilot in the Netherlands?
I’ve been an engineer for the last 27 years but I ‘hate’ my career. About 15 years ago I decided I want to be a pilot but then I found out the extortionate training costs which were well out of my reach. After some time I applied for a sponsored training program (CTC Wings) but I only got to stage 2 out of 4. The selection process was very tough, there were around 100 applicants in stage 2 but only 4 would be selected for the final stage. I was not allowed to re-apply due to my age (29 at the time). I’m now 43 and have a mortgage and I’m also a single parent (non-resident). There is absolutely no way I could afford to pay back the loan repayments, in addition to my mortgage and child maintenance, as well as the living costs whilst training for 2 years. Effectively I would have to take on a second mortgage but with no income. My hobby is skydiving (I even struggle to pay for this!) so I know lots of pilots, but I have no idea how they afford it (I know one pilot who’s parents paid for his training – unfortunately my parents aren’t that rich). I’ve been fascinated with aviation for a very long time, but due to the huge cost of pilot training I’m now stuck in a career I hate which is going no where. And just to rub salt in the wound, if I had been a pilot for just half the time I’ve been an engineer, I would be earning more than twice as much as I do now.
Dear Michelle..do you mind if i leave a short reply to John?..I`m argentinian and i know very well the huge badget needed to face aviation carreer training. I have average incomes and the cost of every hour of flight is quite expensive ..however here is cheaper than either Europe or US..if you or anybody wants to be in contact ,send me an email to email@example.com .
I am former CC and in love with an aviation (my husband was a CP of a A320/321/319 , but unfortunatelly he passed away 2 years ago and I am alone with our baby now. Our plan before I got pregnant was for me to become a pilot. Anyhow, now Im 33. Do you think its late for me to go pursue my dream now?
Regards from Bosnia.
Sorry about your husband Tia. I’ll suggest you check the age requirement in Bosnia, however, it’s never too late to pursue your dreams, as long as you’ll be dedicated enough. Wish you and your baby all the best and a beautiful future ahead! Peace.
Thank you for the insightful article. What are the best flight academies in western Europe that you would suggest joining up to? A balance between price and a quality institution is what I’m looking for. Thanks in advance.
I would try to get into a flight school thats connected with an airline since it usually comes with a job 😉
Its absolutely ludicrous people plunching into 150K debt when you can go to the states and get your 1,500 hours with a training program that costs around $50K or get your instrument multi-cpl for around $25K (and hustle for low time jobs).
Its simply beyond me.
My dream my passion everything is I wanna to become a pilot …after my +2 I wait almost one year for searching loans etc..but no one will help..I really think to end my life . Then I think about my parents.. after I move to study engineering..still now my dream thoughts everything is I wanna to become pilot .unfortunately I can’t go through with my dream..because of money problem..my parents was farmer one year salary nearly indian RS: 75,000..how can I full fill my dream?..I can’t I think…because we don’t have money right this dream only for rich peoples?..any how If any one know about free pilot training in any were in this world please inform me ..if anyone come front and give money life loan or something for my training..after finishing my training I will return that money..please please help me anyone of u seeing this message..my contact number is 7639589673
If you are contemplating suicide, perhaps piloting is not the right job for you. What if you do become a pilot and face some other hardship?
thank very much for this necessary information i am 19 now and im studying avaitaion operation its my last year of college and i ve already applied for universities which will get start in September 2019 i always have had a huge dream and passion to become pilot but i look at the coast of universities for pilot training discourage me i dont even know if i will be able to make it because of the coast but 1 thing is for sure i dont wanna give up on my dream i want to turn my dream into reality i hope i can make it
after obtaining the licence (I looking forward for an iATPL), what other costs do you have to incur? How did you do to obtain the 1500 hours required to ‘unfreeze’ the licence? Can you work even though you don’t have the 1500-hours of flight??
Hi Captain! Thank you for this informative post 🙂 After getting your CPL, can you start working immediately and as what? Is it necessary to get ME and IR? Or you still need to go through getting the fourth bar?
I m changing my life now and want to do only what i like and really want. I m IT engineer and all my life want to be a pilot. I decided to do it, but the only problem is the money. So i m looking for people who had the same dreams and money was part of the experience. I m afraid to lose the hope and searching for a way. I hope i can find bank would accept to give this loan. Btw i live in Germany.
I wanted to thank you for sharing yoy story was really helpful at least it gave me more hopes.
Dear Saif, Im argentinian , i work as a police officer and i have the same obstacle than you…Money lack…After two years of saving i had my Private Pilot License but for the Comertial one,nowi need U$S 22.000 and there is no loan to such ammount here…so i guess its going to take several years gathering 180 hours i need to complete the minimun 200 hours required..some times i feel fed up because it’s my dream but a very expensive one…
If you live in Germany then you should check the school linked in below
I have same dream since my childhood, but major problem is money..btw I am from india
I read your article and it was very enjoyable while you presented the hard facts as well. I am a high school student living in Thailand at the moment (hopefully) coming over to TU Delft next year to study aerospace engineering. In your opinion (based on your experience) how would a career in ‘piloting’ fare compared to other careers in the same industry in Holland (or any other EU country?) I am trying to see what kind of choices I have after I graduate and it would really help if someone with firsthand experience gave their two cents on the matter. Thank you so much in advance 🙂
Hi Mark, Thanks for the feedback! I am not quite sure what you mean by other careers in the same industry. Can you elaborate? The aviation sector in general seems to be “recovering”. More and more unemployed pilots are getting their first airline jobs. There might even be a shortage of pilots in the near future.
I am not sure if there are any careers in the aviation sector that you can compare with actually piloting an aircraft but I am sure a completed study in aerospace engineering will open all kinds of doors I haven’t even thought of. Good luck with your career and enjoy Thailand, it is such a great country.
Hi Michelle, Thank u soo much for all those details . my winter vacation is going on ( feeling bored) my mind is full of????? about pilot course. As l am from Nepal, for me to achieve my dream is too much difficult ( beyond my thoughts) still reading in 12 class. I am fully minded confused . Here in Nepal there is no scope to study pilot. People used to go America & other countries soo. Anyway tq again for inspire me and hope in future I would meet u . Good luck and best wishes from nepal.
Hi Alisha! You’re welcome 🙂 Perhaps you can also move to another country at a later age and still make your dream a reality. Or maybe just take some lessons in a single engine piston aircraft at an airport nearby. Anyway, thank you for your comment and best wishes from Amsterdam!
Hi Alisha! I’m from Nepal and i too have same dream. Beside this I’m continuing my carrer with engineering but i really wanna drop my study and i’m trying to continue my carrer with pilot. We too have same dream as well as we are from same country. If you want then we can talk further about this.
Thank you Michelle for your article.
I am so confused,whether I should join flight school after my high school or get a degree first and then join it.So do you say according to your own experience! And is there any scholerships or by any means can we get discount on our flight training costs?
I am impressed with all the thoughts you shared here and your other posts as well (read a bunch of your articles ;)) Indeed, becoming an airline pilot is no easy. Aside from the fact that learning this kind of field it is not cheap as one have to spend quite amount of money and with kind of career, It requires a lot of hard work.
Thanks Lory! I appreciate the feedback!
I am really inspired by you. You are truly amazing and bring out the reality to the world. Myself Abhishek, I have done Aeronautical engineering in India and also I hold SPL. I came to know about the same scenario in past, although flying aircraft was my dream but had to negotiate with my financial responsibilities. Currently I work for Jet Airways India Ltd as Engineer. I hope to get some more interesting facts from you in future vlogs or on this site.
Thanks and Regard
Thank you for your nice words 🙂 I appreciate you take the time to comment on this article! I will surely continue with this site and my youtube channel. Perhaps you haven’t noticed I have an Instagram account as well. You can find it here.
What do you mean by a SPL? I am unfamiliar with this acronym. Kind regards and stay tuned for more 🙂
SPL means Sailplane Pilot License 😉 I started with that and now I’m at the end of my PPL training. Love your website it’s very helpful for a lot of young aviators pursing their dream to be an airline pilot one day. Maybe you could write something about ways to build your flight hour’s?
Best regards from Poland
Thank you for clarifying the SPL acronym! 🙂 Do you plan on getting a CPL as well? Great to hear that you like my website! I will keep your suggestion in mind, perhaps I can write about that in the future. At the moment I am working hard on some new articles and sections for this website. Should be online soon so stay tuned! All the best, Michelle
Thank you for this post. It really puts some perspective to this ‘dream job’. A lot of people have no clue of how much money we have to spend, and what kind of payments we have to deal with after that. Good job in adding it all up!
Hi Sam, you’re welcome 🙂 That was indeed one of the reasons why I wrote this article.. there is not a lot of public information regarding this subject, I wanted to change that. Have a nice day!
I found this website by accident. That’s the first article I read here and surely I’ll stay here longer.
I might give you and other readers the idea of how it is in Poland.
We have a great opportunity here to become a student pilot in a government-sponsored programme. There are 3 universities in the country, that give the chance to take part in the pilot training programme “for free”. Considering all those universities there are around 50 people each year that start the training programme.
This depends on your results in tests/exams.
I am student of Aerospace Engineering and athe the same time the student pilot in 0-ATPL(A) integrated programme. If necessary, I might describe the details of how to become a student in a government-sponsored ATPL programme.
Good luck to you with all your aviation dreams and keep doing what you’re doing.
Hi Bartosz! Thank you so much for your comment and the insight you are providing. I am sure it can be helpful for Polish readers and it helps to create a better understanding regarding the differences between countries. For example, in the Netherlands there is no such school, nor is it for free:( Looks like you have a very good deal and are well on your way to becoming a professional pilot. Should anyone have questions regarding these Polish schools, perhaps it is easiest if those people just reply to your comment so you can get in touch with anyone who’s looking for clarification and information. Best of luck in your career! Have a nice day 🙂
This is Lija from Bangladesh. now i am living in The Netherlands. i am interested to know about pilot training program. would u please help me by giving idea about whole process ?
Thanks in Advance.
Hey, Bartosz can you please describe better this government-sponsored ATPL programme please? I’m italian, can I apply? Thanks
Hi Lija! Hi Bruno!
Of course I might describe you the whole training from zero to ‘hero’, but this will be the description like many others on the Internet.
My training programme is included in Aerospace Engineering studies on one of the technical universities in Poland. To be able to take part in it, you need: first to get to the university after graduation from high school, second – after 3 semesters there is additional recruitment for people who want to become a pilot. You might study Aerospace Engineering in some other faculties like ‘aircraft engines’, ‘avionics’ or ‘airframes’. However, if you want to be the chosen one to the ATPL programme you need to pass some English tests, psychological tests, aptitude test and have best marks during those 3 semesters. If you managed to get here, you continue your studies. The time of studies is quite long, because it takes 5.5 years, but you get a degree (Master’s and Bachelor’s of science).
As far as I know, only Polish citizens might take part in that programme, at least in my school. But I am not 100% sure about it.
During this training, as it is integrated, you do not pass any official exams, but we have lots of exams at the training organisation (both practical and theoretical). After that you need to pass ATPL theory, CPL (SE and ME) and IR practise.
For the training we do not pay anything, however all the things necessary like headphones, knee pads etc. you have to buy on your own. Still, I think it is a great thing, because the cost (comparing to the usual cost of the training) is almost nothing.
Wish you good luck! Never give up! 🙂
Thanks for replying to their comments Bartosz! 🙂
My name is Daniel.
I am an 35 years old argentinian private pilot and just want you to tell how expensive in my country is: To became into private pilote, nearly U$S 4500, then students go for Commertial licence which costs around U$S 25000 and finally get to last level : airlane pilot .Here you spend U$S 50.000.
Is not a carreer for average citizens, but for rich people instead..
By the other hand, let me tell you something, you`re great and a source of inpiration for those who like the flight on any of their shapes.
Greetings from argentine.
Hi Daniel, Thank you for your reply and compliment! It brings me a lot of joy to hear I am a source of inspiration… 🙂
In the Netherlands it is also most likely going to become a profession for rich people only. Banks are no longer providing pilot loans. I have no idea if this is a permanent thing or just something temporarily. Sounds like the pilot schools in Argentine are still among the cheapest on the globe. But I do understand that the average salary is less then in Europe and therefore it’s too expensive for the average citizen like you said.
Anyway, thank you for your insight! Stay safe and I hope you will enjoy your next flight… but that won’t be a problem I guess 😉
thanks in advance for your quick reponse…
Perhups for a european people it seems like Argentine is the cheapest place on globe (sic) but as a police officer (my real job) i earn U$S 1.120 a month…
In argentine, an ordinary market employee is paid U$S 650 a month…
Well, i hope not to have disturbing you with such speech i typed…
Although it be a cloudy day; the whole Sky smiles when you flight..
You are right, when choosing a flight school, one should not only pay attention to the cost of the school but the average salary in that country as well. A tuition fee might seem cheap for one person but expensive for the other, depending on their income and the place of origin. Anyway, it’s great that you had the opportunity to obtain a PPL and experience the freedom of flying. Happy landings! 🙂
Michelle, I confused now. Sorry. I’m moving to Netherlands and looking to be a EASA pilot. In the post you wrote about banks loans (including an idea about interests). However at this comment above you said “Banks are no longer providing pilot loans” . What is the real situation right now? Thank you so much for all help.
Hi Bruno, I am sorry for the confusion. The comment above was written about a year ago. The bank that was providing loans to students decided to no longer offer uncovered loans. A lot of students ended up going bankrupt because they couldn’t find any jobs. I didn’t knew if it was a temporary measure or a permanent one.
Just recently the ABN Amro bank in the Netherlands started to provide loans again but only for accepted students at the KLS. If you pass the selection process at this school you can still get a loan because KLM acts as a backer. Making it a solid investment for the bank. I think the current interest is around 4 to 5%.
This situation is subject to change at any time though.
Hola Daiel, can I contact you somehow?
I hope Michelle doesn’t mind…email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for this post! Really appreciate it. If you wait a few years, I might become a new colleague! 🙂
Regards from Holland!
Best of luck in pursuing your dream Remco! Chose your school wisely and study hard while your are in training 😉
May I ask you about the name of the aviation school that you went to in the Netherlands, and when did you start it, and when did you finish it?
Very Truly Yours,
Thank you so much, I really like this. I want to become a pilot but I did not know about the expenses. This article is very helpful and I am glad you took the time to make this. I will become a pilot one day, thank you.
Thanks for your feedback Chris! In the future I will create similar content so stay tuned 🙂