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!