Anywhere in the world, a prospective pilot will complain that it is costly to become a pilot. But in Singapore, one of the world’s most expensive cities, it will cost almost twice the amount to get a Singapore CAAS CPL as compared to getting a USA FAA CPL.
Despite costing more, there are some advantages of getting the CAAS CPL, instead of the cheaper FAA CPL. If getting the CAAS CPL is what you want, here is how much it’ll cost.
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SIA Cadet – Cheapest way to a CAAS CPL
The cheapest way to a CAAS CPL will be through the Singapore Airlines Cadet Programme. Not only does Singapore Airline fully sponsor the cost of training, they also pay cadets a small monthly allowance.
Upon graduation, the newly minted CAAS CPL holders are immediately put into the operational fleet, thereby securing them a job. Not only is SIA Cadet training the cheapest way, but it’s also the safest way to getting a licence.
The downsides? Typical for most legacy, long-haul airlines, it takes a lifetime to get promoted to aircraft captain. On average, it takes cadets 15-20 years before achieving the pre-requisites for command training. Compared to Pilots in Singapore Low-Cost Carriers (LCC), they typically qualify after 3-5 years.
(This is not to say LCC has lower standards! LCC Pilots typically fly a lot more, as compared to SIA Pilots, and hence reach minimum requirements much faster.)
LCC Cadet Programme
Competition for SIA cadet programme is naturally fierce. If waiting 15-20 years for command is not your cup of tea, and you are able to pay for your own CAAS CPL training, one option for you is Scoot’s or Jetstar Asia’s Cadet Programme. While Scoot and Jetstar Asia don’t sponsor training, the advantage of securing a slot in one of the LCC’s cadet programme is that that upon graduation, jobs in the respective airlines are generally guaranteed.
However, it’s not cheap. LCC cadets generally pay upward of $150,000 for their training.
The other downside with the cadet programme is that it’s difficult to get in.
One way to look at it is if you can’t secure a slot in the cadet programme, what makes you think you can secure a job in an airline after getting your licence the private way?
Getting the CAAS CPL the Private Way
If you decide to get your CPL the private way, be prepared to fork out SGD $150,000. Training is full time and will take up to 1 year to complete. There are 2 flight schools to choose from in Singapore. Namely, ST Aviation Academy and Singapore Flying College.
It is easier to get a place in STAA or SFC, as long as the candidate meets the minimum requirements, and have the cash to pay for training. The biggest risk in getting the CAAS CPL as a private student is the job market. Successfully getting a licence doesn’t guarantee you a job, and at times, there just aren’t enough jobs to go around. While the job market has been good for the last few years and is expected to be good for a while more, conditions like that are atypical. In the past, new licence holders are expected to be jobless for 2 years.
Also, there aren’t many airlines to flunk your interview with. Imagine failing your interview with all 4 airlines in Singapore. You’ll be left with an extremely expensive qualification with no job show a return on your investment.
Getting your Type Rating
For the uninformed, Type Rating is basically the very expensive course that teaches you how to fly a specific aircraft. For example, an Airbus A320 pilot will be “rated” to fly the A320 (and the family of A319s), while they are typically not “rated” to fly the Boeing B777.
Paying for your own training doesn’t stop after getting your own licence. Depending on which airline you join, more likely than not, you’ll need to pay for your own type rating. Type rating with Jetstar Asia cost about SGD $50,000, type rating with Scoot A320 will about $60,000 and the cost for Scoot 787 will be about SGD $70,000. Private CAAS CPL holders and the LCC’s Cadets are required to pay for their own type rating.
However, if you’re a Cadet from SIA or a Private CAAS CPL holder who secured a job with SIA or SilkAir, your type rating will be fully sponsored by SIA or SilkAir.
The table below summarises the cost, advantages and disadvantages for the various routes to getting a CAAS CPL.
Just take note, the cost for private students can be reduced if the private CAAS CPL holders secure a job with SIA or SilkAir, since the cost of type rating drops to $0.
|SIA Cadet||Private CAAS CPL||LCC Cadets|
|Cost of licence||$0||$150,000||$150,000|
|Type Rating||$0||JSA – $50,000 / Scoot A320 – $60,000 / Scoot 787 – $70,000|
|Total Cost||$0||JSA – $200,000 / Scoot A320 – $210,000 / Scoot 787 – $220,000|
|Job Security||Secure||Most insecure||Secure|
easy to enrol
difficult to get in
difficult to get in