The Stumbling Block: Paying For Flight Training

For those wanting to become an airline pilot, the biggest obstacle by far, is how to afford the ever-rising cost of training. Sadly, there isn’t a lot of help readily available out there, and certainly not for those younger budding-pilots who have their hearts set on an aviation career.

At present, there are no UK-based airlines offering full-sponsorship course, where the student pays nothing. Most airlines now prefer to offer a course based on the cadet or student paying for the training through a loan, secured against a property, the airline then may or may not pay back the training costs over the course of employment.

Furthermore, if you are unable to gain a place on one of the above courses, then you will be expected to pay for your training in full, all self-sponsored, this can cost anything from £50,000 for a modular course at smaller local schools, to upwards of £100,000 with one of the big integrated schools. Add to both of these the requirement of some airlines for you to pay for a ‘type-rating’ (essentially the training completed by the airline to allow you to fly a Boeing, Airbus etc), which can cost upwards of £20,000, you may well be looking at up to £150,000 in total.

Unfortunately, as you may well be aware, many banks will be unwilling to lend this sum of money un-secured and will often require a property as security, if they are willing at all.  These means that if you don’t currently own a property with equity, you may need to find somebody who is willing to assist you, quite a big ask.

If you chose to follow the modular route then the smaller sum of around £50,000 may seem like a more realistic sum. Many people in aviation started off in other careers, saved up a substantial amount of money, before undertaking their training, sometimes part-time, to allow them to continue to work.

If you are one of the lucky one’s picked for an airline ‘sponsored’ scheme, then you may be in a position where the airline will put up the guarantee instead of a property.

One bank that specialises in aviation training loans is the Spanish BBVA Bank, this bank deals with all of the major integrated schools as well as many others and we have included details below along with relevant links:

BBVA Personal Banking:

Security required Mortgage over a property in the UK.
Loan amount Minimum loan amount is £45,000. Maximum loan amount is the full cost of your flight training course with an approved flight training organisation plus up to £5,000 in living expenses.
Repayment period Up to 12 years (including a payment holiday period for the first 24 months of the loan). Interest will accrue and will be added to the balance of your loan during the payment holiday period.
Interest rate 3.0% per annum plus Bank of England Base Rate – variable.

The overall cost for comparison is 4.1% APR.

Insurance We will require you to take out life insurance to cover the repayment of your loan in the event of your death before the maturity of the loan. We estimate the total cost of premiums on your life insurance policy will be £600 for the term of the loan although the actual cost will depend on your personal circumstances.

As a condition of your loan, you will also be required to send BBVA a copy of:

  • Your class 1 medical insurance policy; and
  • Your loss of licence insurance policy (when you receive it).
Arrangement fee £650.00 (any further advances or modifications will incur an arrangement fee of £350.00 per advance or modification).
Other conditions You must open a current account with BBVA London and for the duration of the loan your salary must be paid into that account when you start earning.
Payment holiday period 24 months. Interest will be charged during the payment holiday period and will be added to the loan balance.
After the payment holiday period For up to 24 months after your payment holiday, your monthly repayments will be reduced by 25% from the full monthly repayment amount. Interest will continue to be charged on such part of the full monthly payment amount as has not been paid during this period, and will be added to your loan balance.


Loan repayment examples per month assuming a 10 year term:

£60,000.00 £576.74 £842.53 4.3% APR 
£80,000.00 £768.98 £1,123.36 4.1% APR 
£100,000.00 £961.22 £1,404.20 4.0% APR

More information on a BBVA Pilot Training Mortgage

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