Russian commercial aviation pilot training programs, approved before January 1, 2016, will be deemed invalid. The order of the Federal Air Transport Agency (FATA) of 2006, which approved training programs for commercial aviation pilots in higher education institutions, has been annulled.

Russian media wrote that about 5000 active pilots, who had graduated private and state flight schools, could lose their certificates due to this decision.

In Russia, pilot training is differentiated to initial that is offered in the framework of secondary or higher education and is conducted according to the federal state standard, and additional vocational retraining. Initial training is conducted mainly on the basis of six centers - universities in St. Petersburg and Ulyanovsk (five years of training) and schools (two years ten months of training). Private schools specialize in vocational retraining, but they can also teach pilots ab initio.

In May, Russian pilots appealed to ICAO, demanding "to stop the arbitrariness of FATA against aviation specialists and training centers." They said that the agency "often without explaining the reasons or differently interpreting the laws", annulled the testimonies of hundreds of aviation specialists.

The pilots believe that, in pursuing punitive policies, FATA was trying to divert attention from its omissions. So, following the results of the investigation of the crash of the Boeing 737 in Kazan in 2013, it became clear that the main reason for the tragedy was the crew's unpreparedness and wrongful certification of the captain.

According to an official statement from FATA, the information that appeared in the media about the planned cancellation of pilot certificates from pilots who had previously received training in defunct training program was not true. The authority claims that pilot training, carried out for the period of the actions of the “old” programs, until August 2017, is legitimate, thus, there are no grounds for annulling pilot certificates.

Preparation of pilots in the Russian Federation is carried out by special training programs, which are approved by FATA. Until August 2017, a training program, approved by the decree of the Federal Air Transport Agency in 2006, was in effect for Russian flight schools. Over the period since 2006, significant changes have taken place in civil aviation, primarily due to the significant technical development of the industry in aircraft design, piloting technique, and flight safety issues. In connection with the development of an updated training program, in August 2017, FATA recognized the previous training program as no longer valid. 

Leading educational civil aviation organizations subordinate to FATA have developed and approved a new "Exemplary program of training practices for the preparation of commercial civil aviation pilots." When compiling it, new requirements of air legislation, advanced experience in training pilots, including foreign ones, were taken into account. The new exemplary program was approved by the Federal Air Transport Agency on March 21, 2017, and is intended for implementation by educational organizations of secondary vocational and higher education subordinate to FATA, and can be used as an exemplary program educational organizations implementing the main vocational educational programs of secondary and higher vocational education. 

Thus, the decision to forfeit the previously approved training program for commercial pilots should not create a crisis in the industry related to the training of commercial pilots, and is not a basis for the cancellation of previously issued certificates, FATA claims.