Banks, schools & the training scam

With the MSM (mainstream media) catching up to industry fact that the pilot-shortage narrative might not be that simple after all, this July 21th both CNN and CNBS (in a lesser extent - UAE media totally disqualify) ended up suggesting "finding a first job can be tough".

Today we will cover the bank "angle" (pun intended) and prove flight schools contractually oblige newly trained pilots to engage in p2f to fake employment-record-improvements to secure more loans for more students for more profit.

ABN AMRO - weak safeguards amidst "confusion"

Being "the only Dutch bank to offer loans to trainee pilots" in an economy where "pilots [...] have been unable to earn enough to pay back the debts because of the economic downturn and the arrival of budget airlines [...] which pay far less than flag carriers", it was only a matter of time before issues arise.

Sure enough since August 2011, a group of 40 pilots triggered court cases (still ongoing) for failure in the bank's duty to oversee and implement adequate loan provisions (after having sought fair settlement on debt restructuring). ABN AMRO reportedly assumed:

"the market is improving and a shortage of pilots is on the cards"

...soundbite that doesn't add up with Mr F.C. Schoenmakers' confidential letter to numerous Dutch flight schools (Stella, CAE and EPST) :

English translation*

"[...] we shall further tighten the criteria [...] to the granting of credit for students of the training institutes. The reason for this is the rising number of unemployed prospective commercial pilots".

A few months later in December 2013, Mr Schoenmakers became "immediately available" on the job market...

CAE OAA & EPST - in for a penny, in for a pound

The only Dutch loan provider tightening loan criteria with the addition of new measures (as of January 1st 2013) among which:

"As soon as the number of students on the waiting list of your training institute is higher than 10 [...] A new student will only be eligible for a loan when two students have been placed".

it became paramount for flight schools to "place" their pilots so as to not diminish their cash flow student number. Where? CAE OAA (CAE Oxford Aviation Academy), sister company of CAE --already involved in p2f with Ryanair-- and EPST (European Pilot Selection and Training) have one clear solution:


... the kind of "job offer" where:

  1. a fee of £100 is chargeable for Stage 2 of the assessment process (non-­refundable).
  2. A fee of £150 is chargeable for Stage 3 (also non-refundable).
  3. The pilot must self-fund Type, Base and Line Training including VAT at a cost of £38,400.
  4. Living expenses during this time will meet neither salary nor compensation.
  5. The pilot must set his own limited company and get hired through the intermediary agency CAE Parc Aviation (another CAE sister company), because let's face it, you didn't think the airline would later hire you directly, did you?

No, not Ryanair, just EasyJet's take on modern day slavery "pay-to-fly" of course, and to top it all, you can't escape the rape program since according to the foreword translation*:

"You are contractually obliged to participate in placement"

Our readers can now simultaneously guess how those EPST students were "placed" and what that ABN AMRO's "improving market" and "shortage of victims pilots" really is.

Verdict - banks raise, schools bluff, pilots fold

Conveniently dropping the excuse that Type Rating and Line Training are just training (what we have been saying for years) to count those "opportunities" as "placement", flight schools found the perfect mean to defraud banks and bypass any of their criteria based on job finding. Banks unable (unwilling?) to tell the difference become (willful?) accomplice by perpetuating schools' scam, loading pilots with more debt for short term profit, with no incentive to dig deeper since real safeguards would impede their conducting business too.

In this poker game of lies and deception, pilots have the worst possible hand: they no longer decide to pay-to-work or not, they are now forced to, by contract.

*All Dutch translations from a sworn certified translator for the English and Dutch language at the district court of Amsterdam.

Posted by Cockpit Seeker

Filed under: p2f Leave a comment
Comments (7) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Ryanair is not a p2f program. Yes you pay for the type rating but you get a contract for 5 years.
    Companies from the tui group (arkefly, thomson, jetairfly, …) and thomas cook ask you the same thing, to pay for the typerating yourself and in the end you get a contract for 6 months in the summer. This is not pay2fly either
    P2f is when you not only oay for the typerating but also for the linetraining and you dont get paid for those hours.

    • Hi Andy,
      Ryanair is p2f. Indeed, you do pay LT at the arbitrary rate of €20/hour (150 depending on certain conditions). It is true a payment of €60/h occurs at the same time trying to offset this payment, however:

      • The pilot’s payment continues “until the end of the calendar month” after your line check. Meaning if you passed the 1st of this month, you’d still pay 30 days more. For what service exactly?
      • Where in the world a pilot should pay the airline he’s working for? This shouldn’t happen in the first place.
      • Worst, those pilots are not even Ryanair’s, they are company representatives of limited companies hired by contractor Brookfield for “independently” providing service…

      We have already detailed the whole setup at:

      P2f has an official definition I invite you to check:

      Thanks for dropping by!

  2. You’re not gonna fool anyone here with this bullshit, no one has ever gotten a 5 year contract after being hired at ryanair, and I actually have never heard of anyone getting any contract at all after the type rating except for the limited company in ireland crap.

    As for the other airlines you mention, I can’t say for all of them but some make you pay for the TR 20 or 30k€ more than you could find elsewhere. So you’re actually paying yourself during that 6 months contract.

  3. Thank you for this article. Word must get out that quality of flying is quickly deteriorating – as a result of financial issues! Lives are literally in danger! We are letting people fly the aircrafts that are not up to it. We must help these pilots to deliver top quality work, by relieving them of this financial strop/noose.

  4. And we should stop flooding the ‘pilot market’ by educating an excessive amount of pilots. Stella Aviation Academy is now continuing their money-making business of pilot courses in Turkey. These poorly trained pilots, or pay to fly pilots, will fly our aircrafts later because they will be the cheapest, so this is still our problem.
    We give way to these moneygrubbers like Zwarteveen way too easily. This is the cause for the trouble in the pilot environment.

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