Aer Lingus Announces 2024 Fully Sponsored Pilot Cadet Program

A year ago we reported on the first fully-funded airline training program announced by TUI UK, aimed at tackling the huge financial barrier facing those interested in pursuing a career in aviation. Since then, we’ve had the pleasure of reporting similar schemes by WizzAir, British Airways and today, Aer Lingus.

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Aer Lingus announces its Cadet Programme reopening © Jason Clarke

Aer Lingus Announces Fully Funded Flight Training

Aer Lingus, Ireland’s flag carrier, has unveiled an exciting opportunity for aspiring pilots with the launch of its 2024 Future Pilot Programme. In collaboration with the esteemed flight training institution, FTE Jerez in Spain, the programme aims to provide talented individuals a rewarding career in aviation, through fully-funded ATPL flight training, and a place as an A320 First Officer upon completion. With a strong focus on comprehensive training and continuous development, the programme offers selected candidates a fully sponsored pathway to becoming professional pilots with Aer Lingus.

The programme spans over 14 months and commences with intensive basic training at the renowned FTE Jerez flight training school in the picturesque region of southern Spain. This phase combines classroom instruction with practical flight training, utilizing both actual aircraft and advanced flight simulators. During this period, candidates will receive dedicated guidance and support from the Aer Lingus Cadet Liaison Pilot, ensuring they are well-prepared for the challenges of a pilot’s life.

Upon successfully completing the initial training in Spain, future pilots will return to Dublin, where they will undergo a four-month transition course specifically tailored to the Airbus A320 family of aircraft at the state-of-the-art Aer Lingus Training Academy. This essential phase equips candidates with the skills and knowledge required to fly Aer Lingus’ modern fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft across European destinations.

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Graduates will go on to fly the Airbus A320 across Europe © Martin Tietz

A Fully Funded Scheme

Aer Lingus has announced that the airline will fully fund the scheme, with no upfront cost for successful candidates. This is similar to schemes announced by other airlines this year including WizzAir, TUI and British Airways, however, it differs from self-funded schemes costing in excess of £100,000 offered by other carriers such as easyJet.


Captain Karl O’Neill, Chief Instructor ATO/Recruitment at Aer Lingus, expressed enthusiasm for the programme, stating:

“We are delighted to launch our 2024 Future Pilot Programme, which provides an excellent platform for individuals aspiring to pursue a career in aviation. Aer Lingus has a proud legacy of pilot training, and we welcome candidates from diverse backgrounds to join our team and contribute to our ongoing success.”

To be considered for this highly sought-after opportunity, applicants must exhibit a strong drive to succeed and possess the competencies necessary to become skilled commercial airline pilots. Exceptional communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills, along with a dedication to customer service, are prerequisites for aspiring candidates. The airline places a high emphasis on safety and requires candidates who can thrive in a fast-paced and dynamic environment while upholding Aer Lingus’ commitment to exceptional service.

The Application Process

Applications are now open and must be submitted by 17.00 GMT on Wednesday 16th August 2023.

Candidates who progress through the screening will receive on-line assessments and will be given 72 hours to complete. This is likely to include mathematical, physics and reasoning tests.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to the group assessment stage which will be held in Dublin between Monday 25th September and Friday 13th October 2023.

Those interested in applying for the scheme can discover more information on the Aer Lingus website, here.

It is brilliant to see another airline tackle the growing pilot shortage and diversity gap within the piloting profession. Are you aspiring to be a pilot? Share your training journey with us in the comments below!

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