1,000 apply for just 20 pilot-training spots with Aer Lingus
MORE than 1,000 people have applied for just 20 positions to train as pilots with Aer Lingus.
This is despite prospective applicants being warned that the gruelling 14-month course, likely to be held abroad, will offer little free time and only a handful of opportunities to return home for visits. Cadets will also be expected to part-fund the cost of their training. The course will cost a total of about €100,000 to complete.
"The initial training course will lead to the granting of an Airline Transport Pilots Licence," the information for cadets says. "The course is very intensive and involves a significant amount of additional study. Time off from the course is limited to set times during the programme."
This is the first cadet programme Aer Lingus has undertaken in a decade. A company spokesman said they were "not surprised" at the high number of applicants.
"We're delighted but I wouldn't say we're surprised," he said. "It's a very attractive position. With most unemployment concentrated among young people, 1,000 (applicants) would seem a lot, but it's our experience that previous numbers have applied in the past.
"The cost of the course will be advised to the successful applicants. In some cases, trainees have to pay for the full course.
"In others, companies pay the full amount but have a bond in place so where the pilot leaves, they have to pay some of the training costs back.
"It's a long time since we had a pilot cadet programme, probably 10 years.
"Experience would show that recruiting pilots can lead to increased loyalty with many choosing to spend their careers with the company."
A training venue has not been decided, nor has the portion of training costs that cadets will be expected to pay.
While there are no "cast-iron" guarantees of a job at the end of training, the company expects to offer all successful applicants a position as co-pilot, initially flying shorter routes.
Sources said that starting salaries of €60,000 a year were likely.