Ryanair aircraft
Ryanair wishes to resume flights to Slovenia, spotting a gap in its market. | © Torsten Maiwald

Europe’s No.1 airline Ryanair has officially launched its new major training programme in partnership with Astonfly, the No.1 private flight school in France. 

The partnership shall produce a Ryanair monitored and mentored programme in Paris that will recruit and train up to 500 new cadet pilots over a period of 4 years. 

Funding a new generation of pilots 

Announced in a press release on Ryanair’s corporate website, the new programme presents a great opportunity for trainee pilots to receive a quality and structured training course whereby they’ll reach the appropriate standard to join the Ryanair Boeing 737 Type Rating programme. 

Trainee pilots who enrol on the programme can expect to be trained by Astonfly’s instructors, using Ryanair procedures and operational philosophy. Those who graduate are expected to become pilots for the Dublin-based airline. 

Over the four years, the low-cost European carrier has planned for 500 new pilots from across Europe to be recruited and trained by Astonfly. This is positive for the French training outfit by emphasising its respected position within the global pilot training market. 

Astonfly training facilities
Founded in 2004, Astonfly will train more than 150 pilots each year. | © Astonfly.com

Director of Operations for Ryanair, Neal McMahon, spoke positively of the new partnership with Astonfly, citing the training provider’s “impressive track record in training top-class pilots to the highest standards.” He continued:

This new training programme with Astonfly is Ryanair’s only mentored pilot programme in France and will deliver up to 500 new cadet pilots. Ryanair offers unparalleled career opportunities for cadets with industry leading rosters and excellent earning potential. This partnership highlights our commitment to supporting, developing and recruiting pilots in the region for current and future positions.

Ryanair’s Head of Crew Training Captain, Senan O’Shea, spoke of how the new training programme will provide the airline “with a steady pipeline of talented and professional pilots from around Europe to meet the needs of our growing network.” He then shared Ryanair’s future hiring plans and the positives behind partnering with Astonfly:

Ryanair will hire up to 1,000 pilots per annum over the next 4 years and our pilots can look forward to unmatched opportunities flying with the world’s number one international airline. We have carefully chosen Astonfly as our cadet training partner in France due to their high standards in initial flying training. We are very pleased to lend our operational expertise to Astonfly.

Charles Clair is the president of Clair Group, the French aeronautical group that founded and owned Astonfly. He cited the partnership as a “strong sign” of the aviation industry’s post-pandemic recovery and referred to the new recruitment and training programme as “ambitious”. He spoke of Astonfly’s pride in being chosen by Ryanair and continued as follows:

It represents a unique opportunity for our past, present and future students, to become commercial pilots for Europe’s largest airline upon completion of their flight training. We look forward to working with Ryanair.


While this is a thoughtful action in addressing the growing pilot shortage within the aviation industry by providing yet another training option for budding pilots, it is also a spectacular move for Ryanair as they’d be funding 500 pilots to fly for them. A great investment for the future. 

Let us know what you think about Ryanair and Astonfly’s partnership in the comments below. 


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