ABOVE: Up to 90 candidates will be offered sponsored training places over the next five years 

Irish airline Aer Lingus has re-opened its Future Pilot Programme, a sponsored incentive that will offer 90 candidates the ‘unique career opportunity’ to train (and ultimately work) with the airline over the next five years.

Successful candidates will begin a ‘very intensive training programme’ lasting over 14 months with flight training school FTE Jerez in the south of Spain. Upon returning to Dublin, trainees will undergo an A320 type rating course before being offered a job in the right hand seat.

“To secure a place on this course, you need to be highly motivated and must demonstrate the competencies required to become a commercial airline pilot,” explained Captain Karl O’Neill, Chief Instructor ATO/Recruitment. “Many of our pilots have joined us from other industries, and we urge you to consider doing the same.”

This is the first time the company has run its intensive pilot training programme since 2019, and ‘given the limited number of positions available, competition is expected to be extremely high’. Aer Lingus CEO Lynne Embleton added: “We encourage everyone interested to consider our fully funded pilot programme and we particularly encourage females to apply as we continue our efforts to close the gender gap in aviation”.

A full list of eligibility criteria – including minimum education requirements – can be found on Aer Lingus’ website, which also notes: ‘We are looking to attract talented people who are motivated, engaged and passionate about aviation’. Candidates will also require ‘excellent communication, problem-solving and teamwork skills, as well as an appreciate of the service [Aer Lingus’] customers expect’.

Completed online application forms must be submitted by Wednesday 16 August 2023, after which selected candidates will receive online assessments to be completed within 72 hours. Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to the group assessment stage, scheduled to be held in Dublin between 25 September and 13 October.

In a similar recruiting drive, British Airways recently announced its Speedbird Pilot Academy which will offer up to 60 candidates fully-sponsored training places.