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New Luxair scheme latest in moves to tackle pilot shortage

Luxair is seeking potential pilots to join its cadet scheme with an offer of upfront funding for the scheme.

The Luxembourg-based carrier is looking for recruits to start flight training in October, touting a “long-term career perspective in a stable but growing airline”.

Cadets will not have to pay for their 20-month training, Luxair says in a post on its careers website. Instead, once they are flying as a first officer for Luxair, the airline will retain a portion of their salary to cover the cost.

Integrated pilot training courses can cost students around 90,000 or as much as £100,000 at schools in the UK, so the offer could encourage cadets who are otherwise unable to raise such funds upfront.

Those high costs of training have often been cited as one of the reasons behind a shortage of pilots around the world. The tightening in the labour market has prompted airlines to look at how they secure a pipeline of flight crew.

For example, Air France in January last year launched its first fully-funded ab initio training scheme in nine years. It recruited 110 pilots through that process and in October it announced a second round of recruitment, saying it was hoping to train one hundred new pilots by 2020.

Air Baltic has also launched its own pilot academy as a way of securing crew as it grows its network and fleet. The academy is currently accepting applicants, some of whom will be guaranteed a job with Air Baltic after they completed the selection process, and says it will help cadets to apply for a bank loan, although does not provide any funding itself. Meanwhile, Qantas is also offering scholarships for its new pilot academy, set to open later this year.

In a nod to gender inequality in the industry, where currently only around 6% of commercial pilots are female, training provider L3 was overwhelmed with applications after it offered female-only scholarships late last year to cover around one-third of the cost of its ATPL programme.

In a bid to boost recruitment and keep crews, Ryanair also last year cut the price for type ratings for newly qualified pilots seeking their first airline job. The course price has been cut from almost 30,000 down to 5,000, although that discount is dependent on pilots staying with the company for five years.

Applications for the Luxair scheme are open until the end of June. Successful candidates will receive training at the RWL Flight Academy in Moenchen-Gladbach in Germany.

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