In its quest to train more airline pilots, Airbus has started offering ab-initio courses for young and aspiring pilots at its Flight Academy in France. The first group will start by the end of April.
The rapid growth of commercial aviation combined with the retirement of the aging flight crew (especially in Europe and the US) results in worldwide demand of some 500.000 new cockpit crew, both Airbus, Boeing and others like CAE have been saying for the last couple of years. The Canadian training company has started its own courses, and so have a number of airlines worldwide.
Airbus has had its own Flight Academy and training facilities, but these are primarily used for training ‘operational’ crew and provide type rating courses. The youngest, fresh from school generation, had to look elsewhere.
Since January, the Escuela de Aviacion de Mexico in Cuernavaca is offering the Pilot Cadet Training Program on behalf of the Airbus Flight Academy. Now, the airframer’s academy is ready in Europe after it has become full owner of Cassidian Aviation Training Services (CATS) in Angouleme in the South West of France. EASA approved the new ab-initio course late 2018.
The first group will begin their course here from late April. “We will work towards four groups of students per year, gradually building up our class sizes to meet 200 students by 2022-2023”, an Airbus spokesperson tells Airinsight. The course will be open to students from all over the world as long as they have permission to live and study in Europe. Yet the new Flight Academy aims to tackle the need for cockpit crew in Europe first, calculated in Airbus’ 2018-2037 Global Market Forecast to be 94.040 pilots for the next ten years.
Training will take some 18 months and is done on 26 Cirrus SR20 and SR22 and a single Diamond DA42VI trainer, both well-known types within the training scene. An additional two months will be needed to qualify the pilots for type rating on an Airbus.
Angouleme Brie-Champniers airport has a 1.810-meter long runway and large airspace around it, while other airports are nearby to provide extra training facilities.
Airbus “at this time” isn’t providing any financial aid to the students, nor are they guaranteed of a job with a specific airline. “For the pilots that successfully complete their course, they will most probably be able to benefit from Airbus’ contacts with airlines. We are also working towards agreements with airlines that could provide job opportunities”.
These pilots won’t be flying this Airbus A350-1000 forever, so Airbus steps in with ab-initio training for their successors. (Airbus)
Active as journalist since 1987, starting with regional newspaper Zwolse Courant. Grand Prix reporter in 1997 at Dutch monthly Formule 1, general reporter Lelystad/Flevoland at De Stentor/Dagblad Flevoland, from 2002 until June 2021 radio/tv reporter/presentor with Omroep Flevoland.
Since mid-2016 freelance aviation journalist, since June 2021 fully dedicated to aviation. Reporter/editor AirInsight since December 2018. Contributor to Airliner World, Piloot & Vliegtuig. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.