Sixteen students have graduated from the Latvian airline’s airBaltic Pilot Academy, receiving a commercial pilot license upon completion of the full-time airline transport pilot program. In addition, already the 12th group of nine students began their professional pilot studies.
In line with the gradual recovery of the aviation market, airBaltic has started recruitment of a total of 120 additional pilots, including graduates of the airBaltic Pilot Academy.
Transport Minister Talis Linkaits, congratulating graduates and new students of the academy: “The aviation sector is back to its regular operations it had before the pandemic crisis. Thus, in the coming years, demand for pilots and other aviation professionals will only grow”.
The minister underscored that Riga is being developed as the central aviation hub in the Baltic states and airBaltic has become a significant market player in Europe, therefore well-trained personnel is one of the key factors in retaining these positions.
Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer of airBaltic: “This is the largest graduation ceremony we have seen so far at the airBaltic Pilot Academy. It marks a significant milestone for the program, which has so far prepared a total of 42 commercial pilots. We also congratulate the young and determined students of the 12th group, who started their studies today.”
The new group of students is the first to start studies under the new improved payment structure. Students of the airBaltic Pilot Academy will now have to cover the costs of studies until obtaining a private pilot licence level, costing approximately EUR 15 000. After passing airBaltic pilot assessment and becoming an employee of the company, the airline will provide financing for the rest of the studies.
Overall, there are now 72 active students at airBaltic Pilot Academy. Most of the students are from Baltic countries, however, there are students also from other EU countries such as Germany, France, Finland, Spain and Italy among others. More than 10% of airBaltic Pilot Academy students are female.
Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer of airBaltic: “While we continue to employ our airBaltic Pilot Academy graduates and rehire former employees, this time our needs for additional staff reach further, meaning that we are looking for external pilots to join our company. Additional pilots are required to prepare the airline for capacity we will fly in summer 2023.”
Candidates must have EU citizenship, valid EU FCL CPL or ATPL license (EASA form 141), and have at least 300 hours of Commercial Air Transport (CAT) operations on aircraft with EFIS, FMA and FMS systems – MTOW of the aircraft at least 5.7 tonnes.