Airbus Pilot Cadet Training Program

Last year, Airbus, one of the giants of aviation, launched an ab-initio pilot training program in order to help address the demand for nearly 540,000 pilots needed worldwide over the course of the next 20 years.

Onur Air is one of many Airbus A320 operators worldwide. Photo by AeroNewsxX/Chris de Breun.

This ab-initio scheme, known as “Airbus Pilot Cadet Training Program” focuses primarily on the development and assessment of fundamental pilot competences in an effort to ease the transition that pilots face from training to the actual professional environment.


The program was launched in partnership with a highly recognized flight school located in Mexico City and that is close to Airbus´ training center. Escuela de Aviación México (EAM) was selected to be a pioneer in the creation of the program given its ability to comply with the standards set by civil and international aviation agencies, a shared vision in terms of quality and finally due to its capacity to meet the requirements imposed by the company These requirements include a highly technological and well-preserved fleet of airplanes as well as a team of experienced professionals who are fluent in English and who possess the necessary abilities to develop in such an area.

The advanced phase of training sees cadets fly an Airbus A320 in a training simulator. Photo by AeroNewsX/Karam Sodhi.

Once the school was audited and selected, instructors were standardized to comply with the highest standards imposed under Airbus supervision. The first group of cadets, which was limited to 6, started the course last January; the program is now expecting new cadets over the next few months. The program includes an IPad that will be used during all of the course phases and a very elegant jacket with the Airbus logo on it.


Cadets are carefully selected by a committee which evaluates a handful of qualities that are looked for when choosing the right individual. A candidate´s application comprises a set of assessments in which your physical and cognitive skills are measured as well as your mathematical, english and situational awareness aptitudes. You´ll need a high school diploma, a minimum of 18 years of age, an English level 3 (ICAO) and an interview. If you are one of the chosen applicants, you´ll have to go through a full course duration of approximately 20-22 months including the type rating on the Airbus A320. Flight training is divided into three main phases: initial, intermediate and advanced. During the initial phase, also called “Private Pilot Phase”, candidates will complete a 40hr real flight training in one of the school´s brand new Diamond D20/40 with a well-prepared flight instructor. After completion, the Intermediate phase, also called “Commercial Pilot Phase”, will be flown both in the Diamond DA20/40 and DA42 for about 200 hours. Finally, the advanced phase, also called “Type Rating Phase” will comprise a set of specialized training hours in which cadets will fly the Airbus A320 full-motion simulator at Airbus´ Training Center.

The Airbus A320 is flown in all corners of the globe. Photo by AeroNewsX/Jack Prebble.

Last July, the first generation of 6 cadets finally concluded ground school and set their wings free for flying for the first time. The inaugural flight was held by the student who earned the highest grades during the theoretical phase. It is important to point out that cadets from the first generation are now undergoing the second phase of the course and will be finishing in late 2020.


The clear rapid growth in the aviation industry has created a huge gap in terms of supply and demand of individuals who are capable enough to fulfill the needs of airlines in both terms of professionalism and security. Airbus is working with the help of private entities to fulfill the demanded standards that such an industry requires.

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