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Working for Ryanair - Recruitment Process | FTA

Rosie Williams05 Jun 2015 Posted in: Ryanair, Pilot jobs

Ryanair Aircraft at take off

Source: Ryanair Media Centre

Why work for Ryanair?

We attended the ATO symposium at London Heathrow and enjoyed an excellent presentation, given by Ryanair’s head of training, Captain Andrew O’Shea. We thought that we would share some of the interesting facts, figures and information from Captain O’Shea’s talk.

Ryanair is a fast growing airline, offering great opportunities for recently qualified pilots. In addition to employment opportunities, Ryanair offers a good salary and benefits package, when pilots have gained experience.  They like to reward their people for their efforts,  through incentives and performance related pay where possible plus there are real opportunities for advancement and promotion for the right candidates. One perk, for example, if you are employed on a Ryanair contract, you can take advantage of unlimited discounted standby flights on all of their routes.


Ryanair by numbers

Founded in 1985, with share capital of £1 and just 25 staff, Ryanair now operates more than 1600 daily flights (over 500,000 per year) from 68 bases, across 1600 routes, connecting 186 destinations in 30 countries. Currently, Ryanair operates over 300 B737-800 aircraft, with an additional 180 B737s on order. This year, Ryanair will fly over 85 million passengers. With over 3000 pilots and 6000 cabin crew, Ryanair’s 29 year safety record is impeccable.

Ryanair recruited 480 new pilots last year and this year, there are plans to recruit a further 500 pilots. This figure highlights the need for new pilots, in the light of the widely acknowledged and reported global pilot shortage. At FTA, we recently obtained statistics from the CAA, which showed that there were 1289 CPL licences issued in 2013, with only 786 of those issued to UK citizens and the remaining 503 licences issued to non UK EU and non EU citizens.

Whilst Ryanair interviews and assesses around 1000 pilots per annum, only 48% make it through the selection process. But 99% of pilots that pass the Ryanair assessment, complete the type rating successfully. Captain O’Shea said that normally, a first officer qualifies for the Captain’s seat after four years, if they have a minimum of 3000 hours.


Ryanair recruitment process

Cadet applications are completed online and then screened by a third party. The third party selects and recommends the selection to the HR department of Ryanair and then successful candidates are invited for interview.  For the interview, the candidate receives a pack, including:

  • Simulator instrument layout
  • Pre-flight setups
  • Profiles to be used

The Ryanair interview is divided into different segments:


  • The candidate’s level of preparation
  • Instrument scan
  • CRM skills
  • Team work
  • IFR procedures
  • Aircraft handling
  • Threat and error management
  • Situational awareness   


Personal attributes:

  • ATO report
  • Intelligence
  • Self-confidence
  • Maturity
  • Leadership skills
  • Learning rate
  • English language skills


Simulator assessment:  

  • Introduction
  • Centre layout
  • Simulator brief for Pilot Flying and Pilot non Flying
  • Instrument layout
  • Navaid brief
  • Jepp plates
  • Profile brief   


The simulator profile consists of the following:

  • Normal take off
  • General handling
  • Non normal event (could be a fire in the toilet, a passenger being taken seriously ill etc.)
  • Non precision approach
  • There is no asymmetric work included

It is important to note that if candidates fail the assessment, they will not receive feedback  


Common weak areas that may exclude candidates:

  • Poor CRM
  • Language deficiencies
  • Poor IFR flying
  • Poor handling
  • Poor technical knowledge
  • Poor preparation   


The Type Rating:

  • Ground school for 4 weeks
  • Simulator sorties for 6 weeks (60 hours of simulator time)
  • Base training for 1 day
  • Then the pilot sits on a jump seat for 1 week to observe standard operating procedures etc.
  • Line training is 6 to 8 weeks; normally 85 sectors.

Ryanair is apparently unconcerned with:

  • The type of training that a candidate has taken i.e. modular or integrated
  • The particular flying school that the candidate trained with
  • Nationality of the candidate
  • Whether English is the candidate’s first or second language

For further information about the Ryanair recruitment process, see http://corporate.ryanair.com/careers/.

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