Learning just how expensive flight school fees can be discouraging to any Filipino who dreams of becoming a pilot. While flight training is relatively cheaper in the Philippines compared to other countries, it can still be rather costly. Aviation schools in the Philippines typically charge between PHP 3 million and PHP 5 million for an integrated course curriculum, and this amount is exclusive of overhead costs like food, transportation, and monthly rent.
Paying for flight school can leave a massive dent in someone’s pocket, especially if they don’t have a stable income. But it’s also worth considering why flight school is so expensive in the first place. Aviation courses are specialized courses that require state-of-the-art equipment, highly qualified instructors, aircraft rental, testing, and licensing. These resources are necessary for training pilots in a safe and reliable environment and equipping them with the requisite skills to operate something as complex as an aircraft.
The investment will be worth it if you are serious about pursuing a career in aviation. All the same, if you’re looking to study in a pilot school in the Philippines, planning your finances is essential. Below are the steps you should take to mitigate the financial stress of flight training.
Understand the Costs
Before starting your budgeting journey for your day-to-day life as a pilot student, you must understand the costs associated with flight training. Therefore, the first step you should take is to research and determine exactly how much money you need to save.
The cost of aviation training depends on the school and the kind of license you’re looking to acquire. Whether you’re looking to secure a Private Pilot License (PPL), a Commercial Pilot License (CPL), or an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL), all aspiring pilots must render a certain number of flight hours to complete a course, and longer flight hours mean higher pilot tuition fees.
Aspiring pilots should also consider the overhead costs associated with flight training, which include food, transport, and rental fees. Take some time to list all the expenses you’ll incur during flight training to get an idea of how much you’ll spend every month.
Practice Good Budgeting
Consciously saving money is the best way to ensure you have enough cash to get you through flight school. Evaluate your spending habits and determine what you can cut back on to save money. After analyzing your expenses, set a monthly saving goal and stick to it as much as possible. If you’re receiving a monthly income, talk to a representative from your bank about automating your savings so that you can lock in a part of your earnings as savings each month.
Remember, saving requires a lot of discipline and perseverance, especially if it requires a significant lifestyle change on your part. When your motivation wavers, remind yourself of your dream to be a pilot so that you can stay on track with regard to your financial goals.
Look into Scholarships
Paying all of your tuition fees out of pocket may not be the only way to get yourself through flight school, especially if your achievements and personal circumstances make you eligible for a scholarship.
Most aviation schools offer scholarships and cadet programs to cover flight training, though these are quite competitive. Scholarships are typically granted to students who have displayed exceptional academic prowess, while airline cadet programs have an application and interview process that a promising pilot candidate will need to ace.
Airline cadet programs, which are sponsored by airlines in cooperation with a pilot training organization, can cover the entire cost of flight training while guaranteeing employment to students upon completion their course. However, student pilots must also sign a bond that requires them to work for the airline for a set period. If this is the route you want to take with regard to financing the costs of your schooling, be aware of the obligations you’ll need to meet in the future.
Delay Training to Generate Income
If time permits, don’t rush flight school. Working full time before flight training can be a great way to save money for pilot course tuition fees and gain extra experience along the way.
Know, however, that working for too long can eat away your motivation, and this may cause your drive to become a pilot to wane year after year. Determine specific goals for how long you want to work and how much money you need to save so you can get back on track as soon as you’ve achieved them.
Study and Work Simultaneously
Going through your flight training while working at the same time may wear you out, but it’s a cost-effective solution for many aspiring pilots. If you’ve finished an aviation-related course, you can actually work in a non-pilot job in the aviation industry and get employee discounts for pilot training courses.
Take Out a Loan
Many aspiring pilots take out loans to finance their flight training. Borrowing money from a lender, usually a bank, requires you to pay back the amount, plus interest, over a certain period. This allows you to spread out the cost of your pilot course tuition fee and make it easier on your pocket. You can get the best deal by finding a lender with doable terms and low-interest rates.
Before taking out a loan, it’s important to remember that your loan repayments will add to your monthly expenses. Borrowers should be in good economic standing to pay off their loan and take care of their bills and daily costs of living at the same time.
Seek Out Financial Assistance from the Flight School
Individuals who are not ready to take on the full financial responsibilities of flight training may be able to turn to the flight school itself for financial assistance. Lots of these come in the form of student loans, which are offered in partnership with reputable financial institutions.
For instance, Alpha Aviation Group (AAG), a top pilot school in the Philippines, offers the AAG Study Now, Pay Later program for aspiring pilots who are looking to jumpstart their careers but lack the financial capacity to do so. This flexible loan package, provided in partnership with BDO, is payable for up to ten years and is offered to all Filipino nationals.
Two courses in AAG may be financed through the Study Now, Pay Later program: the Airline Pilot Program and the First Officer Transition Program. Interested individuals must pass AAG’s application process to be eligible.
Finding a way to finance flight school and living within your means as a cadet are among the first hurdles you’ll have to clear on your way to becoming a pilot. But once you’ve addressed them, you’re sure to have acquired discipline, advanced problem-solving skills, and a strong sense of focus—all of which will help you succeed in your future career in aviation.