Are airlines hiring ‘low hours’ pilots?

With an increase in global air travel comes a demand for pilots. That’s good news if you’re thinking of training to become a pilot or if you’ve already started. 

But if you haven’t trained via cadetship or scholarship, you may be wondering how difficult it might be to kick of your career as a full time commercial pilot. 

There are airlines hiring ‘low hour’ pilots globally and as demand increases for qualified pilots there are more opportunities for freshly trained pilots with varying degrees of entry requirements.

Investing in a good flying school and working hard while you’re there will mean walking out with a solid qualification. You will have developed the skills and experience to fly commercially, if you have any extra-curricular activity to boost your CV that’s even better. 

Some airlines will have sponsored programmes to enrol on if you have gained a frozen ATPL. Other common entry requirements across airlines hiring ‘low hour’ pilots are valid MEIR, MCC, CPL, MEP/IR rating, as well as eligibility to work in the country you are applying for a job in. 

Although there are airlines out there hiring pilots with limited experience, competition is still high. There is the risk of multiple rejection letters before finding a job, so set realistic expectations. 

Before and during your application process, continue to build hours. It may be that you can find paid work that can also build your hours, otherwise there are options available depending on where you are living and your budget. 

If you are called for an interview, 
don’t assume you’ll be called back for a second interview if your first one doesn’t go well. You have one chance to impress the people sitting in front of you, not all airlines will give second chances. 

Do your research on the airline, be prepared for as many questions as you can and go in with a positive attitude. 

First impressions also count for a lot, so spend time on your CV and cover letter when you are applying for your first airline jobs. 

Appling for ‘low hour’ positions is a great opportunity to get your pilot career off the ground and build enough hours to ‘unfreeze’ your ATPL. It’s a competitive space so set realistic expectations and do as much as you can in the meantime to build hours and gain vital experience. 
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