How do I become a commercial airplane pilot in Spain? And how much does it cost?

Have you always dreamed of becoming a pilot? Now can be the perfect moment to take your first steps into the world of aviation, which could suffer a major pilot shortage in the coming years. This is due to the rapid increment of flights and therefore passengers during what appears to be a boom in Spanish tourism. The aviation industry keeps on growing; according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the number of passengers will be close to doubling today’s digits, reaching up to 7.8 billion within the next 20 years. For this reason, and according to a study conducted by Boeing in 2018, airlines worldwide will need about 635,000 pilots by the year 2037.

But how do I start? And how much will it cost? Let us show you the way through this journey!

cockpit of an airplane with two pilots who already know how much it costs to be an airplane pilot

What do I have to study to become a commercial airplane pilot?

The main and most basic requirement is to obtain your Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL). This is the highest ranked license, and whoever possesses it is authorized to act as pilot in command of an aircraft weighing more than 5700 kg or carrying more than 9 passengers. The ATPL can be obtained via three means:

  •  An integrated course that can be accessed without any prior aeronautical experience, of approximately two years (depending on the school).
  •  Modular, through a lengthy process that consists of obtaining licenses in a step-by-step manner until reaching the ATPL.
  •  Through a university degree in Commercial Aviation Pilot and Air Operations

Once a pilot has obtained the ATPL, the minimum requirements to undertake the role of a commercial pilot will vary from airline to airline. For this reason, the pilot must pay for an additional type-rating course to be able to work for the company, depending on the aircraft they will fly or the specific requirements of each airline.

The price for obtaining the license: How much does it cost to become a commercial pilot?

As for the cost of enrollment, this varies depending on the way by which you wish to obtain your ATPL (integrated, modular, university).

– The average price of the Airline Commercial Pilot Course comes in at around 70,000€, depending on your choice of school.

– The university course, of longer duration, has a cost of about 180,000€.

– The acquisition of the ATPL via modular means is dependent on factors such as the school, the level of such, and the cost of each license individually.

What is the price of an airplane pilot course (PPL)?

Obtaining the ATPL and flying as a commercial pilot is not within everybody’s reach, so this may be a more feasible way of taking to the skies. The Private Pilot License (PPL) can also make your dream of becoming a pilot a reality at a much lower cost, given that we would be talking about 7,000€ to 10,000€ to obtain this license.

Requirements for commercial airplane pilots: What is needed?

In addition to the courses and training necessary to be a pilot in the world of commercial aviation, there are also various requirements that you should also keep in mind.

  •  Medical Certificate. Before enrolling, it is required you undergo an exhaustive Class 1 medical examination. Such examination, according to COPAC, is composed of various physical tests, including ophthalmology and hearing, an electrocardiogram, and a blood test to monitor numerous parameters. The duration of the Class 1 medical examination can take up to the entire day, and its cost may reach approximately 500€. This certificate must be renewed periodically.
  •  Incompatible Medical Disorders. Certain disorders may prevent a person from becoming a pilot. Suffering from colorblindness, some types of diabetes, epilepsy, or cardiovascular disorders, amongst others, will make you unfit to fly as a pilot of an aircraft.
  •  Level of English. According to COPAC, a pilot must speak English at a level that allows them to seamlessly carry out daily flight operations, especially during stressful and emergency situations. It is vital to fluently speak the language from the initial stages of flight training. At some schools, both training and exams are offered in 100% English. The International Civil Aviation Organization has established six levels of English language competence; the minimum level a pilot must obtain is a 4 and is renewed every four years, with 6 being the highest and therefore most fluent/native level.
  • Flight Hours. The training for pilots to obtain their ATPL requires, in addition to simulator hours, real flight time and expertise/progress tests, also carried out throughout the training process


No, the Private Pilot License (PPL) or the Light Aircraft Pilot License (LAPL) are for those who wish to fly as a hobby, sport, or leisure. This, however, does not necessarily mean that training will come in at a lower cost, the main differences will be the requirements, the aircraft type, and the license that you will obtain. With our course, the license will allow you to work as a professional pilot.

Not necessarily. The integrated course is Ab Initio, for students with zero experience.

The duration of the course is typically between 20 and 24 months.

A high school/baccalaureate diploma or equivalent. In the absence of such, you will be required to pass a specific mathematics and physics exam at the school.

The legal minimum is 150 hours, however, at European Flyers we have valued that the course will offer 180 hours.

At professional flight schools this is not a possibility, nonetheless, we do have options for financing, ask us.

If you want top-tier training, at a school that is recognized at a European level, European Flyers is your best option. You will obtain practical experience at a level comparable to that of airlines, with training imparted by experienced professionals.

Some of the subjects you may  find 

The theory program involved with the acquisition of the ATPL will include subjects that discuss topics such as aerodynamics, air law, air traffic regulations, knowledge of aircraft structures, systems, and engines,  mass  and balance, flight planning meteorology, general navigation, radio navigation, VFR and IFR communications, amongst others.

As you have seen, working as an airplane pilot can be a thrilling profession. From European Flyers, now that you know what it costs to become a commercial pilot, we offer you the widest range of airplane pilot courses, from integrated to modular and even online, always guaranteeing the best resources, means, and the most advanced technology in the market. We can help you achieve your dream, and remember, a pilot never stops learning!