Many in the aviation sector have at some point encountered operational disruption, as a result of the growing pilot shortage. Just this year airlines like Norwegian, Ryanair and Hong Kong Express had to cancel flights due to scarcity of pilots. As the increasing demand for air travel is only making the situation, worse, major airlines are now turning to aspiring pilots with zero flight hours in the bag. Industry giants like EasyJet, Aer Lingus or British Airways are luring young pilots with new career opportunities, but aviation-training professionals encourage the beginners to take smaller carriers in consideration, as they also have their fringe benefits.

The aviation sector around the world is looking for solutions at all levels on how to attract more pilots. For example, Australia just proposed relaxing work visa restrictions for foreign pilots. Elsewhere, airlines are luring young flyers to the industry by offering new opportunities for beginners. “It’s not only the big players offering new job opportunities to young pilots – smaller charter airlines are also taking initiative. It is in everyone’s interest to help these specialists enter the aviation market,” says Skaiste Knyzaite, the CEO of, which specializes in recruitment and training of aviation personnel. “In any industry it is tough to get that first job, but in aviation, companies are more eager than ever to recruit young talent. A pilot job at this time is definitely one of the most promising and lucrative careers.”

As attractive as it may seem to work for a big airline, S. Knyzaite claims that jobs at smaller companies comes with have their own perquisites. “There are obvious benefits of a cozy atmosphere and getting to know your colleagues. So far, the feedback we got from pilots working for smaller airlines is very positive especially because of the young personnel and their flexibility when it comes to schedules, base locations and so on. Nevertheless, the biggest advantage of working for a smaller company is the career opportunities. These airlines are growing fast and are motivated to keep pilots working for their company, so the opportunities to upgrade to captain are very good,” shares S. Knyzaite. has already started sending young pilots to airlines like Small Planet and Avion Express that are helping young pilots to enter the job market. Afonso Correia, who recently started the program at Avion Express, emphasizes the benefits of working for a smaller airline. “I like working for Avion Express. After joining the program, I realized it was the best decision. I like the program and the training style. I definitely feel I have improved significantly since my first flight. I’m learning so much from my instructors as each one of them offers different perspectives during my training.  When I finish training, I only think about staying at Avion. I have already recommended the program to some of my friends,” says Alfonso.


“There is definitely plenty of interest in these programs - since the training costs are high, cadet programs offering work with zero flight hours are quite competitive. And while assessment standards are high we expect more and more young talent to take advantage of these opportunities. A pilot’s career now is more promising than ever and airlines taking the initiative to introduce young pilots to the aviation job market is a significant step into the right direction to combat pilot shortage,” says S. Knyzaite.