Is it possible to get a job as a pilot?

Elisabeth Kindmark

For several years there has been talk about a looming pilot shortage, both worldwide and in Europe. We have previously discussed the forecasts published by Boeing and Airbus, If you are amongst the skeptical readers who find yourself thinking: “Hang on, will it not be in Boeing and Airbus’ best interest to inflate the forecasted demand for their airplanes and thus the need for pilots?” you definitely have a point. The good news is that there are several other credible sources to rely on when looking into the future…

If you take a look at the Annual Report of the ICAO Council for 2015, you can read the following prediction about the long-term air traffic forecast:

“According to the latest ICAO long-term air traffic forecasts, the 3.5 billion airline passengers carried in 2015 are expected to grow to about 10.0 billion by 2040, and the number of departures is projected to rise to some 95 million in 2040.”

This prediction applies to global air traffic, with China being a big force in driving the numbers upward in the coming years. The European market (where EASA certificate holders will be applying for jobs) is more saturated, meaning that the growth potential is not as high. Thus retirements will play a big role in the creating of job openings for newly graduated pilots. It is also worth noticing the following paragraph in ICAO’s Annual Report:

European air carriers saw growth of 5.6 per cent and accounted for the largest share of international Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPKs), at 37 per cent of the total.”

So why has recruitment only started to increase dramatically in the last two years? Let us take a look at how the airline industry has been able to hold off on recruitment for this long:

  1. Retirement age for pilots increased from 60 to 65 in 2006
  2. EASA Flight Time Requirements – Subpart Q was changed, resulting in pilots being able to work more hours
  3. Unconventional hiring structures were applied by many Low Cost Carriers (LCC) enabling them to optimize the utilization of their existing pilots

The three abovementioned changes to our industry has a direct connection to the postponement of pilot recruitment. The good news for young aspiring pilots is that to meet the rising demand, airlines now have to start hiring in order to keep their planes in the sky...


Patrik och Simon_PPP_Flybe.jpg


Patrik and Simon started our Professional Pilot Program in 2014 and were hired by British airline, Flybe, before graduating from OSMAA, they are now working as first officers, stationed in Southampton, UK.

Patrik Eriksson is 21 years old and he grew up in Västerås (The home of OSMAA!). In high school he studied computer science but he has always had a great interest in aviation, which has only grown stronger through the years. Once started evaluating the options for flight training he soon decided on OSMAA and the Professional Pilot Program.

Simon Hellstrand is also 21 years old, he grew up in Eslöv, in the southern parts of Sweden. Simon’s interest for flying slowly started to develop after he flew for the first time. He studied engineering in high school but started looking for options for flight training during his final year, he wanted to study an integrated program that would take him from “Zero to Hero” (from zero flight hours to First Officer). After comparing his many options and visiting one of OSMAA’s Pilot Open Days he finally decided that the Professional Pilot Program was the right choice for him. 

Simon and Patrik spent 12 months in San Diego, and shortly after returning to Västerås for the last 5 months of training, they received a phone call regarding an interview with Flybe.

“We were really surprised, and excited about the news. We had just started our multi engine training and we had neither a CPL or completed ATPL theory. How was it even possible?”

Two days later it was time for the interview.

“The interview lasted for about 30 minutes, the atmosphere was pretty relaxed. As soon as the interview was finished we found out that we had qualified for the simulator test, something that we would do as soon as we had graduated from OSMAA”.

After they had completed their flight training at OSMAA they were invited to Exeter in the UK to be tested in Flybe’s full motion E175 simulator. Something that suited them both well, as they had just completed 75 hours of training in OSMAA’s 737NG Simulator. Simon and Patrik were partners during the MCC and JOC course at OSMAA and luckily they also got to do the simulator test together.

Within a week they were both offered positions as First Officers on the Bombardier Q400, in Southampton. 




We wish Simon and Patrik, good luck on their new job!

As in any other industry there are no guarantees for a stable demand on labor, even if the job market for pilot is looking very promising we can’t pledge that you will get a job after finishing flight training, because in the end it’s all up to you. 

To become a pilot requires commitment and will-power, and to start flight training is not a decision that should be taken lightly. If you want to make sure that you are well read before you decide on whether or not to train to become a pilot, make sure to download our Market Outlook which will give you a better understanding of the future of the aviation industry, and the demand for pilots. 


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