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The Airline Pilot Club: transforming how airlines find the pilots of tomorrow

Airlines are currently grappling with significant challenges in recruiting and retaining enough pilots to meet growing passenger demand. While there are recent examples of carriers, notably United Airlines, offering pilots unpaid leave, these are certainly the exception.

Most airlines, particularly in the United States (US), are being forced to find increasingly inventive ways to recruit pilots or enhancing pay offers to attract talent. According to CAE’s latest Aviation Talent Forecast (2023), the civil aviation industry will require 284,000 new pilots over the next 10 years.

While many profess to have the answers to the global pilot shortage, a smart thinking company run by a former Head of Training at Ryanair is providing genuine solutions to a problem with which the aviation industry continues to struggle with. 

In adopting a holistic technological approach to recruitment and training, the Airline Pilot Club (APC) is transforming how airlines discover and train the pilots of tomorrow, ensuring a consistent supply of well-prepared, highly skilled pilots ready to meet the demands of the aviation industry.

Airline Pilot Club

Andy O’Shea, CEO of the Airline Pilot Club (APC), spent 28 years at Ryanair with 18 of those as Head of Training, where more than 10,000 newly licensed pilots were selected and trained to become safe and effective airline pilots.

During his tenure, Ryanair grew from an airline operating 26 aircraft to one that flew 460 and as Chair of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) Aircrew Training Policy Group, Andy introduced the APS MCC to the pilot training industry.

His wealth of knowledge and invaluable insights led him to believe that a new approach to pilot training and recruitment was needed, one that would become a transformative force in the aviation industry.

Airline Pilot Club – Andy O’Shea

He believed that, for too long, pilot training and recruitment had operated as separate entities, often leading to inefficiencies and a mismatch between training competencies and airline requirements.

Andy knew that a holistic approach, in which recruitment and training are viewed as interconnected components of a single process, was needed to meet the industry’s demands. An approach that creates a community to connect aspiring pilots, Approved Training Organizations (ATOs) and ultimately airlines looking for pilots or experienced recruits.

Andy told AeroTime: “Once the airlines announce that there are jobs, there’ll be plenty of applicants, but what we can do is help them very easily and quickly find the right people culturally, technically, education wise, with the right competencies, attitude, knowledge, skills. Our task would be to do all that integration using our experience and software and deliver safe and efficient pilots on-time and ready to go”.

How the Airline Pilot Club works 

At its core, the Airline Pilot Club is a community that transforms aspirations for a career as a pilot into a viable and tangible goal. By investing in the development of aspiring pilots and providing them with access to topflight schools, APC ensures airlines can find the most suitable candidates.

APC’s airline partners include HK Express Airways, owned by Cathay Pacific, and the Colombian flag carrier Avianca, both of which draw on APC’s expertise and state-of-the-art technology such as data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to access the candidates best suited for pilot positions.

Airline Pilot Club

In a climate where airlines are battling to win the services of highly trained aviators, APC enables its partner carriers to get ahead of their competitors.

APC’s Airline-Ready Pilot Pool is a key tool to align pre-screened, well-trained cadets, as well as experienced pilots, with carriers, streamlining the path from training or recruitment to cockpit. While APC’s AI and data analytics ensure only the most qualified candidates make it to Airline-Ready Pilot Pool creating a treasure trove of talent for carriers to access.

“The results of this interconnected community can be more efficient and effective training, reduced cost, and a faster career progression,” Andy said.

Focus on AI and technology solutions

With its ambition to play a pivotal part in shaping the future of the aviation industry, APC is continuously looking at ways to further develop its technology platforms to include more advanced training and recruitment tools.

Much of APC’s work draws on highly sophisticated AI and technology solutions, enabling airlines, experienced and aspiring pilots, and flight schools to gain invaluable insights to drive recruitment and optimize training. 

APC believes that its AI systems can even be used to anticipate and adapt training for future trends in aviation, not only to meet current demands but also anticipate challenges yet to come. 

From APC’s Airline-Ready Pilot Pool to psychometric assessments to its Evidence-Based Training (EBT) and Personal Evidence-Based Training (PEBT) Optimization Suite, AI and technology solutions are central to its success. 

Airline Pilot Club

The EBT and PEBT Optimization Suite enables airlines, as well as independent pilots and instructors, to personalize and optimize training programs and adapt materials and methodologies to meet the unique needs of each trainee

As Andy said, by personalizing the training experience through the Optimization Suite, APC is “not only enhancing learning outcomes but are also making strides in flight safety and operational efficiency”.

The suite is also able to provide real-time, actionable feedback with detailed, data-driven insights into a trainee’s performance, competencies, and progress and is highly compatible with various airline training record systems allowing for smooth data exchange.

System integration between APC and airlines ensures that all relevant data is up-to-date and synchronized across both platforms, thus improving the efficiency of training and the overall safety and effectiveness of aviation operations.

And with the systems working in tandem, historical training data from the carrier’s records can be drawn out and new training assessment and performance data pushed back into the system.

The AI suite is also capable of analyzing vast amounts of data from simulation exercises, in-flight performance, and other training activities to pinpoint areas where a trainee may need additional support or guidance.

And because the information gathered is individual specific, airlines and trainers can use their time and resources in the most effective way.

How APC delivers for airlines

APC partners with airlines like HK Express Airways and Avianca to enhance recruitment processes and enable carriers to connect with potential recruits. These partnerships aim to facilitate access to top-tier talent and align training programs with airline-specific needs.

The company’s collaboration with HK Express was cemented to provide the airline with access to pilots and build brand awareness among the pilot community globally while APC’s continued relationship with Avianca aims to create an end-to-end approach for recruitment, training, and long-term development. 

From utilizing Symbiotics’ psychometric assessment, or using AI data-driven candidate selection, to partnering with the best flight schools, the end goal is to provide aspiring aviators with their dream job and provide airlines with access to pilots who are ready for the challenges ahead.

Avianca Airlines

With APC’s Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, AI technology and airline industry know-how, operators benefit from an enhanced recruitment process and access to the right pilots. 

And by using APC’s Airline-Ready Pilot Pool, carriers anywhere in the world can benefit from a pipeline of skilled pilots who are extremely well-prepared for their journey into aviation.

“This initiative will not only streamline the recruitment process for airlines but also open up unparalleled career opportunities for aspiring pilots,” Andy said. 

Airlines can also be sure that APC’s commitment to high-quality training, plus a meticulous evaluation process that leverages both AI and data analytics, ensures that the Airline-Ready Pilot Pool only includes the most qualified candidates, guaranteeing a consistent standard of excellence. 

How APC delivers for Approved Training Organizations

For aspiring pilots, learning to fly at a flight school is an essential step in their career but finding the right one is crucial for their development.

With its portfolio of talented prospective aviators APC collaborates with a network of APC vetted worldwide Approved Training Organizations to provide high-quality, industry-relevant training programs. 

The selected schools offer training, Commercial Pilot License (CPL), and Integrated and Modular Airline Transport Pilot License (iATPL) and Approved Training Organizations can also use APC’s platform to find potential students who would benefit most. 

The close partnership between APC and the selected flight schools means that trainees are not only equipped with the ability to fly, but also ensures they possess the mindset and adaptability that airlines require of pilots in the modern age.

How APC delivers for aspiring pilots

Aspiring aviators with APC are given access to exceptional career opportunities while they are guided through the process of becoming a qualified pilot.

Those already qualified or currently in training also receive support from APC and are able to access the next steps of their journey to find employment with an airline.

According to APC, 40% of licensed pilots who apply for an airline job do not reach the required standard. Becoming a pilot requires a blend of ability, behavior, and innate capability that unfortunately not everyone can achieve. However, by using technology strategically, APC can select the candidates most likely to succeed. 

Using psychometric technology and advanced AI tools, APC provides aspiring pilots with an early indication of their aptitude and personality traits, in relation to a potential career at an airline. 

“The report tells you where your strengths and weaknesses are, and the whole idea behind the training content that we have in our free learning management system is to enhance the areas that might have been identified as being weak, or even strong,” Andy explained.  


Those found to possess the right attributes can access the Pathway to Pilot Competence e-learning course, which includes modules on Crew Resource Management (CRM) and Pilot Competencies (ICAO/EASA), amongst others. 

The program was developed by APC training experts to airline pilot standard and provides candidates with insights into the human aspects involved in being a pilot.  

APC can also customize training to address the specific needs of individuals, thus enhancing learning outcomes through a competency-based approach. 

APC’s integrated approach delivers pilots who are not only technically proficient but also equipped with the soft skills necessary for effective teamwork and leadership in high-pressure environments. 

The Airline Pilot Club (APC) is setting a new standard in the aviation industry by integrating recruitment and training into a seamless, technology-driven process. Under Andy O’Shea’s visionary leadership, APC uses advanced AI and data analytics to address the global pilot shortage, providing airlines with well-prepared, highly skilled pilots. 

By partnering with leading airlines and top-tier flight schools, APC ensures that aspiring pilots receive the best training and support, paving the way for a successful aviation career. This innovative approach not only meets current industry demands but also anticipates future challenges, positioning APC as a transformative force in the future of aviation. 

For airlines seeking top-tier talent and for individuals aspiring to reach the skies, APC offers an unparalleled pathway to success.

To find out more visit the Airline Pilot Club website.

The post The Airline Pilot Club: transforming how airlines find the pilots of tomorrow appeared first on AeroTime.

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