In recent years, there has been a growing propensity for pilot training schools to adopt course fee payment plans requiring aspirant pilots to pay both a large deposit and material fees in advance of training actually being delivered.  This has resulted in growing customer dissatisfaction that they have effectively lost control of both their cash and influence over the cadence of their training service delivery.

The situation seems particularly prevalent for Integrated ATPL courses where, in some instances, other UK pilot schools are taking greater than 75% of total course fees within the first 6 months of a 20-month course. Not only could this be regarded as unfair, the additional interest cost payable by the customer on these advance payments is significant.

Focusing on the need to take a more customer-centric approach, FTA looked at the situation across the UK industry and has decided to address matters with a fairer and more ethical approach and has adopted a core business strategy of ‘FAIR FEES®’ from 2023.

The new ‘FAIR FEES®’ policy comprises 3 key pillars:



The decision to undertake a course of professional pilot training is significant and not a decision to be made either without research, in haste or under pressure. In the event that a customer books a course place with FTA, pays the deposit and then changes their mind within 14 days, the deposit will be refunded in full.



The non-refundable deposit to book a place on ANY FTA COURSE has been reduced to a standardised £2,500 reflecting the direct costs that FTA will incur should a customer withdraw from the course after the cooling-off period has expired.



 Monthly fees requested by Direct Debit, will now more closely align with the phase and most significantly the cost of training that the customer is actually undertaking.


By way of illustration, the ‘FAIR FEES®’ structure for the FTA Integrated ATPL course comprises:


Course Deposit (non-refundable after cooling-off)

  • 1 x payment of £2,500 

ATPL Theoretical Knowledge Training (9 months)

  • 9 x payments of £2,500 per month

VFR Single-engine Flight Training (Foundation Phase)

  • 4 x payments of £4,000 per month

IFR Single/Multi-Engine Flight Training (Intermediate & Advanced Phases)

  • 8 x payments of £5,000 per month

APS MCC and UPRT Training (once the IR skills test has been passed)

  • 1 x final payment of £8,500



We looked at the payment plans of some other ATOs Integrated courses and we have illustrated how much a student will pay over the first 12 months of the course as well as the total cost of the courses.



*Data collected from UK and European ATOs websites - correct of the week commencing 19th December 2022

FTA’s Managing Director, Sean Jacob, commented:

We have been listening carefully to our customers for some time and examining the approach taken by other UK & European pilot training schools to student fee payments. I’m delighted that FTA Global has chosen to lead our industry in taking a fairer and more ethical approach on this subject through our new FAIR FEES® initiative.

By way of additional benefit from the new ‘FAIR FEES®’ payment policy, a new customer may now save approximately £3,000 in interest costs compared to our old fees policy and compared to other UK pilot schools current fee payment profiles approximately £6,000 in interest costs. (assuming 9% APR on a loan drawn down monthly).

FTA will continue to offer a ‘FLY FIRST®’ option for its Integrated ATPL students, with up to 4 spaces per course available on a first-come, first-served basis. This enables customers to receive VFR foundation flight training before commencing ATPL theoretical knowledge flight training. In this instance, the fee payment profiles are simply interchanged to reflect the phase of training being undertaken.

The current FTA Integrated ATPL and Modular courses include the dual training and testing for both UK CAA and EASA qualifications WITHOUT ADDITIONAL CHARGE.  Effective from 1 July 2023, there will be an additional surcharge to be paid at the end of your course.

Training for all FTA courses is conducted from Brighton City Airport based on the south coast of the UK with easy access to both UK and EU airspace; hence there is no requirement for our customers to travel overseas to a ‘Fair Weather Base’.

FTA has also encapsulated the new ‘FAIR FEES®’ policy for Modular courses: adopting a fair and ethical approach to both deposits and fee payments for ALL our valued customers for whom these significant career investment decisions are fundamental.

After discussions over the weekend, ... the best option for me is to go for Modular Package 1 but with the 2023 terms, since despite the extra cost, the way it’s broken down really helps students like myself. I cannot thank FTA enough for thinking ahead with the future of flight training in these difficult times and opening it up to so many more people."

Tim - Modular student 2023