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Home > Becoming a Pilot > Future of airline industry for pilots
Future of airline industry for pilots
Pilot Career - Becoming a Pilot
Friday, 11 May 2012 17:02

So you want to be an airline pilot? Part 1

Hi Captain Lim,

I am Joel, currently a Diploma holder living in Singapore, waiting for the National Service.

Thank you for creating a website for aspiring pilots. I have found this site to be extremely helpful and it has revived my what-I-thought-to-be dead dreams of being a pilot.

I have done some research regarding course fees and asked HM Aerospace about their CPL/IR with Frozen ATPL course. The total came up to RM280,000 over a period of 18 months without meals, fuel surcharge and additional training. So let's take it to be RM300,000. This rounds up to SGD125,000. That is A LOT of money!

I have also done some researches regarding the industry. It would be very unwise to take up the course should the forecast of the industry be gloomy. However, a few sources say otherwise! An 'estimate' of 500,000 or so pilots will be needed by 2030!

Since I'm 20 years old now, do you think that it is the perfect moment for me to plan getting my desired license?

The bulk of flight students as I've heard, are at their mid-career, making a career switch. So I guess by the time I'm done serving my nation, I could start on a career in my current field of studies and then make a switch when I'm, say.. 28.

Do you think I should go ahead with my plan or do you think if these sources are reliable? Some sources are from the flying schools and I can assume they would put optimistic information on their websites to attract customers.

Also, would the petro-chemical industry be able to fuel the jets in future? What are your views of the future of flying?

Thank you for taking time to read my question.



Hi Joel,

I have written a few times in the past stating that the airline industry is a very cyclical one where pilot demand is concerned. We are near the ebb now. For instance, in Malaysia, there are about 2000 pilot graduates with licenses waiting for jobs in the airline industry. Even though there are some openings (especially in Air Asia), the competition is very fierce. I believe doors of many airlines are closed for now.

Similarly, Singapore Airlines is also not recruiting at the moment. However, by the time you have completed your national service, the recruitment may be back to normal

My advice to you and those who plan to take up this career is to apply as a cadet pilot when the airlines commence recruitment as they are likely to offer you a job after your training. Private students would have a hard time securing a job after spending so much money on the flying course and not assured of a job.

As you have rightly guessed, some flying schools tend to paint a rosy picture of a possible airline job after graduation – don’t be taken in today! Those days are gone! Only airline sponsored pilots would have that kind of guarantee!

Nevertheless, for those who are really keen, you have to excel in all the relevant fields in order to be selected when the window of opportunity opens for you all to be an airline pilot!

Many have asked me about when a particular airline would commence recruitment; I cannot give you all an answer. It all depends on the global economy.

The price of petroleum is quite high at the moment and would continue to rise in the future. To overcome this, modern planes are getting more fuel efficient.

Aviation will continue to grow in the future and pilot demand will also grow. It differs from region to region. It’s just that the competition to get into an airline is getting tougher each day!

I wish you all the best in your future endeavour!

PS. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my new Twitter at @CaptKHLim

So you want to be an airline pilot – Part 2

Flying the Airbus A380


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