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Home > Becoming a Pilot > The other path to be an airline pilot for a Singaporean…
The other path to be an airline pilot for a Singaporean…
Pilot Career - Becoming a Pilot
Friday, 23 January 2009 14:23

Dear Captain Lim,

I am a Singaporean who graduated from a local University recently. I aspire to be a pilot and I went through the 1st round of interview with SIA last October. I did not make it. I reapplied early this year. However, with the current economic crunch, I am not sure if SIA will be hiring anytime soon. Therefore, I am contemplating to accept the job offer I got at the Ministry of Finance Singapore to tide through this crisis.

My questions to you are:

1. Should I take up the job offer now and reapply again in the future when the economy gets better or should I just wait out for an eventual reply from SIA?

2. What are the other paths to be an airline pilot other than applying to SIA? I have applied to Etihad with no reponse. What other airlines can I apply?

Thank you Captain Lim

Sincerely,

YJ


Dear YJ,

As I have said many times in the past, pilots hiring anywhere is always very cyclical and sensitive to the global economy. In bad times, some qualified pilots, especially in the USA, were “willing to fly for food” alt!

As you rightly said, in this economic crunch, most airlines are putting a brake on hiring. Yes, in the midst of this global economic crisis, many airlines are figuring out ways to cut costs and remain financially viable. In fact, SIA has started to ask its excess cargo pilots to go on no pay leave. So, in the interim, it would be safer to accept the Ministry of Finance job offer and wait for the good times before trying again.

The situation recently has been so bad that in one country (India), young pilots who were promised jobs once they have completed their type rating training on the Airbus A320 abroad have not heard from the airline again regarding the promised job when they returned.

In Singapore, other than applying for the prestigious airline job with SIA or its subsidiary, Silk Air, there is Tiger Airways or Jetstar Asia as the option. Of course, there is another good option with Etihad Airways but I believe it is very competitive when it opened to global candidates. See the latest report from a comment in this site here. (“And for those who haven't received any response (from Etihad), there is a note on the website saying that London, Frankfurt, Sydney, Singapore, etc, assessment days are now full.”)

Sad to say, besides these airlines, a Singaporean has very little options left to become an airline pilot unless he has some experience with at least an unfrozen ATPL plus 1500 hours and a type rating (Boeing 737 or Airbus A320).


JetStar vs Tiger Airways (Photos)


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The other path to be an airline pilot.
Dear Captain Lim,

Thank you for your reply. I heeded your advice and accepted the Ministry of Finance job offer. I will retry again when the economy gets better.

Meanwhile, I will be saving up to enroll myself in the Singapore Flying College. I called them up earlier and it was brought to my attention that the course costs SGD $160 000. This is a hefty sum. I am willing to save up and take a loan to finance myself through it.

However, I was wondering, what are the odds of being a pilot after the course. Does this investment reap its benefits?

I am 25 this year. I reckon I would need to work for 3-4 years, save up and take a loan to pick up the course at SFC. By then, I would be around 30-31 when I graduate from SFC with a bank loan to clear. This will definitely be worthwhile if I manage to fulfill my pilot dream.

However, if I am not able to do so, I would have a bank loan to clear and an irrelevant course certificate if say I resume my career in finance.

My questions to you are:

1. What are the job prospects in an aviation industry upon graduating from SFC with a CPL/IR?
2. May you advise me on the path of a self sponsored course? Should I be giving my dream up if the retry attempt fails?

Lastly, I would like to thank you for creating this outstanding website. The effort you put in your reply, despite during your tight flying schedule, was deeply appreciated

Happy Chinese New Year, Captain Lim

Sincerely,

YJ
YJ , 25 Jan, 2009
The other path to be an airline pilot.
Hi YJ,

Like anything else in life, nothing can be absolutely certain if you are going to sponsor your own flying unless you have the backing of an airline like SIA. In other words, you have to be a SIA cadet pilot. If not, it can be quite an uphill task, but not impossible, to get into the airlines.

After graduating with a CPL/IR on your own, there is no guarantee that an airline job with SIA would be waiting for you. You still need to go through their filtering process. Most private students would hope to join the low cost carriers as a second option and if successful, they would be given training on the Airbus A320. Once they have acquired sufficient experience, they may reapply to join SIA as direct entry pilots at a later date - only when the airlines open the door to direct entry pilots again.

It is a very expensive investment for a privately sponsored student. If you fail to make the grade (not everyone are born flyers) you will find it hard to find a good flying job in the end. Hence SIA selection process is very rigorous. They want to make sure that they get the good pilot materials first.

If you fail to get into the airlines with your CPL/IR, your other option is to be a Flying Instructor or a corporate pilot in general aviation.

I wish you all the best smilies/smiley.gif!
Captain Lim , 25 Jan, 2009
becoming airline pilot
Hi YJ,

Just to add on a bit of info. I also went for my 1st interview mid last year and didn't make it. I went for my interview again 6 mths later and made it thru all the stages. I waited about 1-2 months after completing my medical and have recently been called up by SIA for training in Feb. I also know of people who have been called up for Jan training as well. So to answer one of your questions, SIA is still hiring even during this economic downturn.

One probability is the fact that each of us needs to go thru 2-3 yrs of training before we will be able to actually contribute as a pilot. Hiring now is also a long term decision and forecast into the demands of the future. By then I'm pretty sure economy would have picked up. Perhaps SIA may recruit fewer people or may be even stricter with selection during this period. Just speculation though.

Hope this little bit of info helps.
shifu17 , 27 Jan, 2009
Don't Give Up
Hi YJ,

Don't give up your hope in becoming a pilot. You still have years ahead of you to achieve your dream. However,I think you should accept the job offer from the Ministry of Finance for now. Build your career portfolio first. Who knows SIA maybe impress?

I am 30 yrs old and yet to even achieve my ever long time dream of becoming a pilot but I never give up on my believe or my dream.

So strengthen your mettle.

Unfaze
Unfaze , 13 Mar, 2009
minimum age?
hi

i was wondering if YJ didnt get called-up was because SIA only allow candidates of 26years of age and above?
ben , 28 Mar, 2010

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