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The commercial aviation industry is an important global business that helps connect different countries and cultures by providing an efficient method to travel while growing tourism industry. It has made transporting goods easier, making international trade possible and more efficient. It also creates plenty of job opportunities for people who want to be part of the coveted industry.

If you’re interested in a career in the commercial aviation industry, then you’ll be happy to know that you have various options to choose from, including being a pilot, a flight attendant, or an aircraft mechanic—all of which are valuable roles in the industry. Whether as part of the cabin crew or ground staff, here’s a quick look at some of the popular opportunities you can consider.

Captain

As a pilot, the captain is in complete command of the aircraft from departure to arrival. They’re responsible for the safety of the entire flight crew, passengers, and cargo. If you take your pilot training in the Philippines, you must obtain an Airline Transport Pilot License to apply as captain for an airline. The license is issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and is the highest level of aircraft pilot certificate.

Before the flight, the captain reviews the weather, flight plan, and load manifest. They also work together with a co-pilot or a first officer (FO) to perform their communication and navigation duties. The captain also monitors the autopilot and makes inputs to ensure the aircraft is following its planned course.

In flight, the captain can take on the role of pilot flying (PF) or pilot monitoring (PM). As a PF, they handle the controls and perform takeoff and landing. When the captain is the PM, they’re in charge of everything else, such as the radio equipment and assisting the PF with decision-making. Another role captains take on is being a mentor. They provide a good example to the First Officer as to how to successfully lead a crew. This way, the FO becomes prepared once they take on a captain position themselves.

Even if they’re the PM, the captain remains in charge of all aspects of the flight. Due to their higher rank, the captain can override the decisions of their co-pilot or the PF. They may seek input from their co-pilot as well as the rest of the flight crew while making important decisions. But ultimately, it’s the captain’s call and their decision is obeyed and respected by the entire crew.

First Officer

Another pilot position is first officer. It’s the entry-level role when an aviator gets employed in a commercial airline. Primarily, their job is to support the Captain. They also share their valuable inputs when dealing with an ambiguous situation. Generally, the FO performs all tasks delegated by the flight’s captain and those required by airline company procedures. In most cases, these tasks include performing all the pre-flight inspections or the walk-around to improve flight safety. During the inspection, the FO checks the airplane’s airworthiness and visually inspects if the aircraft is in order according to the airplane flight manuals and the pilot’s operating handbook.

Once done with the pre-flight inspection, the first officer completes the weight-and-balance paperwork to ensure the aircraft isn’t too heavy or out of balance. If the plane is too heavy, it may never get off the ground. On the other hand, an out-of-balance aircraft may be uncontrollable or hard to maneuver. Then, the FO will join the rest of the crew to discuss the weather, flight plan, and contingency plans if necessary.

Similar to any pilot, a first officer must go through the necessary training to be qualified for a position in an airline company. They must also obtain a Commercial Pilot License from the CAAP to be compensated for their service.

Flight Attendant

Flight attendants (FA) are an important part of a flight crew. While they’re often associated with roles of serving food and drinks, offering assistance, and ensuring passengers are comfortable, flight attendants are valuable aviation professionals. Their main priority is the safety of all passengers. Flight attendants direct passengers to their seats and demonstrate the use of safety equipment before a flight. They’re also trained to administer first aid. In case of an emergency, the FA directs the passengers to the exits while pilots focus on the safe operation of the aircraft.

If you’re considering becoming an FA, you must be at least a high school graduate. However, some airline companies require applicants to have a higher level of education or a college degree in any course. The most sought-after majors are people-oriented disciplines such as communications, psychology, tourism, hospitality, nursing, and education.

Aircraft Mechanic

Aside from the cabin crew, the commercial aviation industry also has need of professionals who stay on the ground. For example, an aircraft mechanic ensures that an aircraft is in full working order before its flight. They perform the necessary repairs and preventive actions so that the aircraft remains functional and safe. In the Philippines, you’ll need to complete a relevant formal qualification to be employed as an aircraft mechanic. It includes a course in Aircraft Maintenance Technology, a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering, or Aircraft Technology. Then, they must take and pass the licensure exam of the CAAP to become a licensed aircraft mechanic.

If you want a career in the commercial aviation industry, you have various options with some of the more popular and highly in-demand positions listed above. Once you’ve chosen a career, research its qualifications and requirements. Also, consider what airline companies are looking for in their employees so you can increase your chances of getting your dream job.