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Air India Cadet Pilot Program : Cost, Eligibility, Application Process, Details

Updated: Mar 2

Air India announced a much awaited cadet pilot program for the benefit of many aspiring pilots in the country. While there have been very few cadet pilot programs in the country, Indigo Cadet Pilot Program and Spicejet cadet pilot programs were the only ones running till now. With this launch, Air India will enter the foray of training ab-initio pilots and aspiring pilots will get more options to choose from. 

This article is your one stop guide to all the details about the Air India cadet pilot program

  • Introduction to Air India's Cadet Program: Air India has launched its own cadet pilot program, joining Indigo and Spicejet, to train ab-initio pilots. This initiative aims to provide aspiring pilots with comprehensive training, leading them to become pilots for Air India.

  • Program Highlights: The program includes rigorous training at Air India's Training Academy in Gurgaon, featuring state-of-the-art simulators and equipment, under the guidance of experienced professionals across various departments.

  • Eligibility Criteria: Aspiring candidates must be Indian citizens, aged 18 to 30, with a strong command of English, in good physical and mental health, meeting educational qualifications, and capable of passing a DGCA Class 1 Medical test.

  • Cost and Financing: While exact costs are to be disclosed upon enrollment, estimates suggest a range of 1 Crore to 1.25 Crore Rupees. Air India has partnerships with financial institutions to aid in financing, with payment plans based on training milestones.

  • Application and Selection Process: The application process is online, followed by technical and non-technical evaluations to assess a wide range of skills and competencies. Successful candidates will proceed to join the program, embarking on their journey to become pilots.

  • Training Overview: The program comprises ground training in Gurgaon and flight training at partner facilities in the United States, aiming to complete within approximately 2 years. This includes obtaining a Commercial Pilot License (CPL) and type-rating for specific aircraft.

  • Career Path: Completion of the program and meeting Air India's requirements leads to an opportunity to join as a Trainee Pilot, with a clear trajectory towards becoming a fully qualified commercial pilot.

  • Support and Queries: Air India provides ongoing support for applicants and participants, with contact information available for any questions or further information.

As per their website, most program details are yet to be finalised. As and when Air India announces new details, we will update the blog with latest information

What does the Air India Cadet Pilot Program offer?

The courses offered through this program prioritize top-tier training, aimed at molding you into an Air India pilot right from the start.

  • You'll step foot at Air India's newly established Training Academy in Gurgaon, India where you'll meet your fellow colleagues from various departments like pilots, cabin crew, ground staff, security personnel and engineers who will be undergoing respective trainings to achieve a common goal to make Air India - a 'World Class Airline".

  • At the Training Academy, with the help of global Original Equipment Manufacturers, learning is now easy with simulators made available for pilot training for the entire Air India fleet. Here, Commercial Pilot License (CPL) holders from the Air India Cadet Pilot Program will undergo type ratings specific to Air India's fleet requirements.

What is the eligibility criteria?

  • Must be a citizen of India

  • Age: 18 to 30 years

  • Shall demonstrate good command of written and spoken English

  • Candidates should be in good physical and mental health.

  • A minimum height requirement of 158 cm.

  • Candidates will be required to clear a medical test (DGCA Class 1 Medical) prior to starting flight training.

  • Must have the following educational qualifications: High School Education Certificate with 60% in Class 12th in each of the following subjects - English, Mathematics & Physics.

Check your Eligibility :

  • Candidate can only apply post completion of class 12th.

  • Candidates without any flying experience are also eligible for this program.

  • If you haven’t done Mathematics and Physics in class 12th, you have an option of appearing for these specific subjects at class 12th level from the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).

  • The minimum required qualification for an airline pilot job is a basic Commercial Pilot License (CPL) with an Instrument Rating (IR), Multi-engine Rating and Aircraft Specific endorsement that will enhance your resume.

What is the cost of the program?

The cost of pilot training programs can vary widely depending on factors such as location, duration, aircraft type, and the inclusion of additional training elements like simulator time. Although the cost of the Air India Cadet Pilot Program is currently not revealed, it will be disclosed once a candidate is enrolled for the program, prior to commencement of training. An estimate suggests that the cost may fall within the range of 1 Crore to 1.25 Crore Rupees.

  • Accommodation and transport at ground school and the airline tickets to your flying school may or may not be excluded from the training cost as it varies for different flying schools.

  • Eligible Candidates will be provided with a link for payments related to selection process.

  • Applicants selected for the Air India Cadet Pilot program will be able to avail special benefits with financial institutions that Air India has collaborated with. Training amount would be paid in installments, each partner school will share a payment plan based on training milestones. However, cadets are free to choose any other financial partner as per their convenience.

What is the application process of program?

  1. Online Application : Embark on your journey by submitting your application online. Be sure to review and meet all eligibility requirements before proceeding.

  2. Technical Evaluation : At this stage, critical thinking, numerical reasoning skills, ability to perform under pressure, motor skills, and spatial awareness will be put to test. Your performance here determines your advancement to the next evaluation phase.

  3. Non-Technical Evaluation : In this stage, your capacity for effective collaboration, ability to thrive in group dynamics, and how you differentiate yourself during a series of panel and group interviews will be assessed.

  4. Join the Air India Cadet Pilot Program : After successfully passing all assessments, you'll have the opportunity to join the Air India Cadet Pilot program, bringing you one step closer to getting your wings.

About the training

Ground Training

Candidates will do their CPL Ground training in Gurgaon, India.

Flight training

Candidates will do their CPL flying training at the Air India school partners facility. Currently Air India has partnered with two schools for the Cadet Program.

1. AeroGuard Flight Training Center, has locations in Phoenix (AZ), Chandler (AZ), and Austin (TX). Air India cadets will be based at their Phoenix location in Arizona.

2. L3Harris Group, which has training locations in the United States and the United Kingdom. Air India cadets will be based at their Sanford location in Florida in the United States. 

After the Training

Is getting a job as a pilot guaranteed after my training is completed?

Only the candidates who successfully complete the Cadet Pilot program and meet Air India group’s requirements will join as a Trainee Pilot (subject to change as per airline's pilot trajectory).

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the time span for the overall Cadet Program? It would take approximately a total of 2 years to complete all the course requirements to obtain a Commercial Pilot License (CPL) and; to be “type-rated” on a Boeing or an Airbus aircraft type at  Air India Training Academy thereby becoming a fully type-rated commercial pilot.

  2. What is the training curriculum? Training consists of CPL and type rating,  the training curriculum details will be shared after the candidate's induction.

  3. What is Type-rating? Type rating is a type of aircraft certification that is granted by the regulator (DGCA- Director General of Civil Aviation) to the pilots who have completed training and testing on a specific type of aircraft. This type of certification allows the pilot to operate that type of aircraft.

  4. What is a DGCA Class-1 Medical Examination? Class 1 medical certificate is required to be a commercial pilot. The DGCA Class 1 Medical Exam Standards for Pilots assesses pilots on various physical and mental abilities.  The medical tests required for obtaining a DGCA Class 1 Medical Certificate include (but not limited to) - Vision and hearing tests, electrocardiogram, blood tests, urine tests, physical examination, general health, color vision, blood pressure, chest X-ray. The minimum acceptable visual acuity is often 6/6 or 20/20 in each eye (with or without corrective lenses). Some authorities may permit correctable vision up to 6/9 or 20/30.

For more information on Class 1 and Class 2 medical examination, read our blogs.


5. Where can you reach for any related queries? 

Reach out at for any queries

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