Financing Your Training
The greatest barrier to most budding pilots is the eye watering sums of money required to obtain your licenses. With some schools asking in excess of £100,000 for ATPL (Air Transport Pilot Licenses) - most people have to turn to loans from banks, or loved ones to pay for their training.
A few years ago, the main loan available in the UK and Europe for pilot training was offered by the BBVA bank of Spain. This was essentially a mortgage held against property - but the fundamental benefit of this loan was the 24 month "grace period" for repayments. This meant that you had 2 years to complete your training, find a job and start earning before you needed to pay back a penny of the loan.
Sadly, the BBVA stopped offering pilot training loans in 2017; as did ATPL finance, and since there has been no tailored alternative for trainee pilots.
There are however options available for people that don't happen to have £100,000 saved in a bank. I will continue to add further finance options as they become available, but here are the finance options currently available:
Option 1: Professional Career Development Loan.
Sadly, pilot training does not qualify for student finance in the same way that university does; however it does qualify for a government funded career development loan (UK residents only).
Professional and Career Development Loans are bank loans to pay for courses and training that help with your career or help get you into work. You may be able to borrow between £300 and £10,000.
You can apply for these loans for courses such as postgraduate courses; a specialist course at a privately owned learning provider, such as pilot training; Management courses, Technician level training; a National or Scottish Vocational Qualification (NVQ/SVQ) and courses leading to a professional qualification.
To be eligible for a loan you must:
Be 18 or over (the Co-op has an upper age limit of 69).
Have been living in the UK for at least 3 years before your course starts.
Plan to work in the UK, European Union, or European Economic Area after the course.
Once you've chosen the course you want to do, you need to check that your provider is on the Professional Career and Development Loan Register, or that they’re applying for registration. Your pilot school will be able to tell you if they’re registered. If they are, remember to quote their registration number on your application form.
Each bank has a different application form and it’s important you follow their guidance when completing the form. You can only apply to one bank at a time, but if the bank you initially apply to turns you down, you can still submit an application to the other bank. It can take time to process your application, so do factor this in when you apply.
Information about Career Development Loans is available here: https://www.gov.uk/career-development-loans/
Option 2: Secured Loan
Despite the withdrawal of the BBVA and ATPL finance in offering pilot training loans, there are still finance solutions to pay for your training:
Optimum are working with L3 CTS to offer finance solutions to L3 cadets. I believe the loans are still accessible to cadets from other flight training organizations.
"Optimum Credit is the UK's market leading provider of Second charge mortgages and are working with L3 CTS to provide funding solutions to support your pilot training.
About Optimum Credit Mortgages:
Loans are offered up to £250,000 to cover both tuition and living costs, subject to status
Loans are offered to UK and EU nationals with rights to reside in the UK, and secured against a residential UK property
Loans are repayable over a period of 3 to 25 years
Representative 4.9% APR (variable)
How to apply:
L3 CTS will be required to verify your acceptance to the course before any funding is released; this will be completed after you have executed and fulfilled the Prerequisite Requirements set out in Cadet Training Agreement.
To find out more about applying, contact Optimum Credit on 0808 1969 622 or via email on You can also find out more information about Optimum Credit Ltd at https://www.optimumcredit.co.uk/
Students with an offer can submit an application online up to six months prior to course start, and if accepted, opt for the loan to be issued before your studies commence. Typically, funds are normally available in 15 – 20 days from the point of application.
Pegasus Finance offer a "Path 2 Pilot" loan, for any amount up to £100,000 for up to 10 years. Using the example of borrowing £100,000 for 10 years, the loan repayment would be:
Monthly Payment £1,208.00
Total Repayable £144,959.81
(7.9% APR illustration)
For more information, visit their website at https://www.pegasuspersonalfinance.co.uk/path2pilot/
Other secure loan:
There are a few banks that will lend larger amounts of money with security - usually in the form of a property. If you are in a position where you need a bank loan to fund your flight training through a secured loan, you will either need to own a home with a value in excess of £150,000 (most banks will only lend up to around 60% of the value of the property) or be in a position where someone (usually parents) are prepared to take out a loan on their property on your behalf.
Option 3: Airline Sponsorship
The idea that airlines will sponsor the cost of your training and offer you a job on completion is not something you should pin your hopes on, but it can happen. Various airlines have offered sponsored or discounted flight training courses for exceptional applicants.
Even if an airline does not offer you the money to train, but instead offers a conditional offer of employment or they 'tag' you on starting your training, it can offer reassurance to lenders or relatives that you will have the financial security to repay any borrowed money on the successful completion of your training.
Check out the Airline Training Programs page to find out more.