Airline Flight Academy (AFA) Ryanair 737 type-rated program.

Airline Flight Academy (AFA) has suddenly been on a lot of pilot lips. Ryanair and AFA have announced accepting applications for a Ryanair 737 type-rated program. We think this is excellent news but it is clear that there are many opinions and questions about this program. So we decided to write about it.

Who is Airline Flight Academy (AFA)?

According to solecheck.ei Airline Flight Academy (AFA) started trading on 05 FEB 2020 and the biggest shareholder is Nobox Outsourcing. If you are willing to pay a few EUR you can get access to company vitals. The Airline Flight Academy (AFA) state that they provide training for several Airline Clients without specifying.

Ryanair is officially endorsing the Airline Flight Academy (AFA) on the Ryanair Career website

What does Airline Flight Academy (AFA) offer?

According to Airline Flight Academy (AFA) website they offer:

  • APS/ MCC courses
  • B737 type rating
  • Interview and simulator preparation

APS stands for Airline Pilot Standards. MCC stands for Multi-Crew Cooperation. An APS/ MCC is an optimized MCC course that has been developed by EASA. Here you will find Easy Access Rules for flight crew licensing.

So Airline Flight Academy (AFA) is not a flying school where you can get your complete commercial pilot training. It is an academy you go to after you have secured your commercial pilot training.

What is the B737 Airline Flight Academy (AFA) deal?

The program specifies “successful candidates will have the opportunity to fly for Europe’s largest airline“.

The deal = a 737 typerating and a chance to get a job.

The steps explained really easy and as we have understood them.

  • Step 1. You pay EUR 55 for an online pre-assessment before the “big assessment”.
  • Step 2. If you pass the pre-assessment you advance to the big assessment, which is charged at EUR 350. According to the Airline Flight Academy (ACA) the selection procedure takes place in Dublin (Ireland) or any other training centers used by the airline.
  • Step 3. Within 7 working days after the selection day, applicants will be contacted by phone or e-mail with their assessment results, be it positive or negative.
  • Step 4. You get a start date for your type rating which is priced at EUR 30.000.

Before you apply, we recommend that you check that you fulfill the minimum requirements as the assessment fees of EUR 55 and EUR 350 are listed as non-refundable. You can apply for the RYR 737 type-rated program here.

4 questions we have been asked about the B737 Airline Flight Academy (AFA) deal

  • When am I likely to start my training?
  • What are my chances of getting a job with Ryanair if I sign up for this program?
  • How do I secure funding for the B737 Airline Flight Academy (AFA) deal?
  • Why would Ryanair hire me, a brand new pilot, if there are pilots with solid 737 experience available?

When am I likely to start my training?

The Airline Flight Academy (AFA) website states that they have courses available throughout the year for suitable candidates. A guess would be that if you applied now, you could do your type rating in summer 2021. Covid-19 travel restrictions and passenger willingness to fly is likely to have an influence. Maybe look at it this way. If many countries are still imposing travel restrictions it is likely to impact how many planes and routes Ryanair are operating. Things could change rapidly in both ways. One thing to be prepared for is a scenario where you will complete your 737 type rating with no line training planned. This would require you to make efforts to stay sharp. But there is also the aspect of you being available with short notice when/ if Ryanair suddenly wishes to start your training. 

What are my chances of getting a job with Ryanair if I sign up for this program?

The short answer, it is really hard to tell. The wording is that “you have an opportunity”.  Recently Ryanair announced orders of 75 Boeing Max-8200 Aircraft bringing the total number of orders up to 210. According to Ryanair’s own website “history of the Ryanair template” the Ryanair fleet consists of more than 475 aircraft. The question is if the 210 new aircraft orders will be a fleet increase or if it will be a renewal of the fleet? According to the Ryanair announcement, the first deliveries are due to start in early 2021 and run until Dec 2024. There could likely be a training requirement as soon as the new jets start arriving but of course, that is likely to also depend on Covid-19 restrictions, passenger numbers etc. As to your chances of getting employment with Ryanair. First, you need to pass the assessment. Then you need to complete and pass the type rating. Provided you get offered a contract with Ryanair you need to pass the line training and your final line check. So there are many checkpoints that you need to go through before you have a job.

How do I secure funding for the B737 Airline Flight Academy (AFA) deal?

Of course, there might be some that can borrow money with “no questions asked” against security in for example property. But for many that security may already have been used for the basic pilot training. So what do you do?

Well, it largely depends on your personal circumstance. The bank is likely to ask for a budget. This a classic way for them to check if you can afford to repay the loan. But this is it. This deal contains a few uncertainties. The situation is a bit like when many pilots start their pilot training. No-one really knows where and when they will get a pilot job. Still, some banks are willing to invest in you. Will they invest in you again? Ryanair could be a fantastic opportunity if it all works out. By the time you are a captain most likely your economy will be strong. It boils down to risk. Will you succeed? This is where your presentation to the bank becomes crucial.

Most likely the bank will be able to see that they have already a huge investment locked into your training. What if they don’t help you? What other chances are there for you to get a flying job with your current experience level? Regardless of how well you sell the Ryanair opportunity, the bank may still be skeptical. The bank would likely like to see that you have a plan for how you can repay the loan in various scenarios. So make sure your presentation demonstrates you have a plan B for how to repay the loan.

If your bank is saying no, you should think very carefully about your next steps. Banks would in general like to lend you money if they think they can get them back. The interest rate for the loan is usually an indication of the risks. If the bank will not lend you any money, it is likely because they think there is too high risk involved. It may also be that you have used your “allowance” with them. Or that the current economic climate has changed their possibilities for providing loans of the type you are looking for. Of course, the challenge is sometimes that the bank may not fully understand aviation and how the industry works, which can be frustrating. But look at it from their view. Example. You have borrowed EUR 100.000 for your pilot training. You have just started to re-pay 1000 EUR back a month. You are not employed as a pilot and now you want to borrow EUR 30.000 more with no guarantees or security? It may well be that in the current economic climate they simply cannot support that risk.

If your primary bank is not willing to support you, there may be other possibilities. You could maybe take out small loans with different providers that are not looking for any security or explanation of what the money is for. But be sure you understand the terms and conditions and that you can afford to repay the loans. We strongly suggest that you don’t rush into anything. Even if you can get the funding, it is worth thinking about if you are willing to run the risk and to have a solid plan B.

How much is the B737 Airline Flight Academy (AFA) deal going to cost?

Known expenses:

  • Pre-assessment EUR 55
  • Assessment EUR 350
  • Type rating EUR 30.000

Un-known expenses:

  • Accommodation
  • Travel
  • Food
  • Preparation

How much you need to put aside for the un-knowns will of course vary depending on your personal circumstance. We will always recommend you to make an example that reflects your situation.

An example of how to estimate the un-known expenses:

  • Hotel night before the assessment estimate = EUR 50
  • Travel and food for the assessment estimate = EUR 150
  • Type rating accomodation estimate = EUR 1500
  • Type rating travel estimate = EUR 300
  • Food during type rating estimate = EUR 300
  • Optional preparation related expenses, interview training, SIM-preparation – estimate EUR 1000

Total estimate (50+150+1500+300+300+1000) = EUR 3300

Add this to the known expenses (55+350+30000+3300) EUR = EUR 37.410

If you get an employment contract at the end of it you may have re-location expenses and other employment-related expenses. This could bring the total cost to over EUR 40.000. Again this would exclude your normal fixed expenses like insurances, phone, housing etc. We would always recommend you to include a buffer in your budget.

Why would Ryanair hire me, a brand new pilot, if there are pilots with solid 737 experience available?

There can be a good rationale for hiring new pilots. For example, making a profit on the type rating or lower pay for inexperienced pilots. Retaining rate (how many pilots stay in your company) may also be a factor. Ryanair has historically been an excellent place for those seeking a quick career progression. Time to command or a role within training, compared to many other companies, has been fast. Still, some pilots may want to leave and move on to other companies. If you have too many, with the same experience, leaving at the same time you could have a problem. So if you want to protect your airline it can be good to have pilots with mixed experience. It is also smart to have a solid training pipeline and this is probably a good way of looking at it. If the Airline Flight Academy (AFA) and Ryanair run this program without hiring many pilots, then it could be difficult to attract pilot interest in the future. They most likely would not like that. Of course, it will be hard to tell how many will get employment as this is depending on a lot of factors no-one really knows for sure.

Should I go for this deal or not?

Before applying it would, in our view, make sense for you to check that you could secure the required funding. If you can finance the deal it may be worth thinking about the risks. Is this the right thing to do for you? Is the timing right for you? What is your plan if you end up with a 737 type-rating and no job with Ryanair? These sorts of questions can be hard to answer and may take some time for you to figure out. Ultimately, provided you can get the funding, you need to make the call yourself. The situation can be scary and uncomfortable. It is not an easy call. The fear of missing out could kick in. If you talk to several different people you are likely to get several different opinions. Our advice is to make peace with yourself. As soon as the decision is made, it being “go” or “no go” focus on what you can control. If it is a “go” focus on the preparation. If it is a “no go” focus on other possibilites. Regardless of you go for this deal or not the importance is to stay sharp and ready.

Preparation

If you go for the deal we think preparation is going to be key. You may want to think about it as “you want to make the performance of your lifetime”. When you go for the assessment you want to be as prepared as you can be. Also with the type rating, we will recommend you to prepare the best you can and try to get the maximum out of your instructors.

Some might struggle with the mental aspects (pressure, fear of failing etc) which we think is understandable. While it is no quick fix you may want to learn about the mental techniques that top athletes are using. These have been based on proved performance psychology techniques and you can have an easy introduction with this mental training e-book and audio files.

There is a range of providers for interview and simulator preparation. We often get asked if this form of preparation is needed to pass and we don’t think so. It may increase your chances if you have had some practice beforehand. It could provide you with some important self-confidence “I can do it”, in particular, if the preparation went really well.

The best advice (and cheapest) we can think of is probably to prepare together with another pilot looking to go for this deal. While you will be each other’s competitors, we think this is outweighed by learning from each other’s mistakes and all the other practice aspects.

Would you like some help?

To get coaching or perhaps just a bit of free advice, write to us at contact@askapilot.net or call us on +45 5352 7700.

We hope you have enjoyed this blog about the Airline Flight Academy (AFA) Ryanair 737 type-rated program. There will no doubt be many opinions about this opportunity. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Happy landings

Ask A Pilot