When this website was started back in 2011, the climate of airline cadet programs was at it’s highest levels with new and exciting programs opening up with world renowned airlines. Airlines even accepted applicant from foreign countries and no type of aviation experience or even passion. It was reported that Cathay Pacific was receiving over 16,000 applicants per month for it’s popular ab initio program (which is now only available to Hong Kong residents).
Now, it is 2017, and airlines have started backtracking and reassessing their programs because the “pay to fly” scheme is less attractive to applicants since that was the reason for applying in the first place.
Until recently, Cathay Pacific required no experience for ab intio, over 250 hours for advanced and 1,500 for transition. Now, you need to be a Hong Kong resident, 1,500 hours plus ATP subjects instrument rating etc… I must agree with the changes made here because this profession should not be easily accessed by anyone with a dream. With the exception of the cost of self-funded training, I think that a pilot, cadet or whoever, must have some sort of “real world” experience before sitting in the cockpit of some of the most advanced airliners.
There is a reason a cadet pilot will never actually fly the airliner for four plus years, or more in some cases. If you have not flown a Cessna 152 on your own or a Caravan full of passengers, making decisions, learning from mistakes, building situational awareness or even almost killing yourself, I’m not sure you’d be trusted to make decisions on a Boeing 777 moving close to the speed of sound with passengers throughout.
With that being said, you are being groomed to be a future leader in that company and you have your foot in the door into one of the greatest and well respected professions around. I think we can expect to see less international intakes and a bit more requirements for any advanced entry programs out there. This allows the students to be government funded and the airlines can actually make money as this is why cadet programs were introduced.
What are your thoughts on the future of cadet programs?