A UK airline-owned flight training school is to offer selected students half-price pilot training to "frozen" air transport pilot licence (ATPL) level with guaranteed employment on completion.

Pete Humphrys, principal of Coventry-based Atlantic Flight Training (AFT), says that the school is responding to increasing industry demand for professionally trained ab initio pilots who pass rigorous aptitude tests before starting their training.

AFT, which continues also to train ab initio pilots for its owner, freight carrier Atlantic Airlines, is expanding its selective third party training. The reason, says Humphrys, is that airlines remain wary of self-selected students, wanting as near as possible a guarantee that ab initio course graduates going direct into a line co-pilot's seat are going to be able to cope.

This venture makes AFT one of many schools worldwide that are developing imaginative schemes for financing airline pilot training, but it is rare in refusing all students who fail a full selection procedure.

After passing psychometric and simulator aptitude tests, a student has to pay "up front" about £16,500 ($24,750), half the cost of a basic frozen ATPL/multi-engine instrument rating course. On course completion, the airline hiring the pilot pays AFT the other half of the training cost. It is up to the employer whether to recover its training costs, or to bond the new pilot.

Source: Flight International