Indigo Cadet Pilot Programs- Pilot Training, Duration, Requirements Fees

Cadet Pilot Programs Explained – IndiGo, Air India, SpiceJet; List, Details, Cost 2024

Hey TCA Family! Today we will be looking at everything related to Cadet Pilot Programs in India, In the hyper-competitive world of Aviation, aspiring pilots in India have a well-organized route to take when starting their aviation careers via cadet pilot programs. These industry-oriented programs provide cadets with thorough training and the information and abilities they need to soar through the skies with confidence. Thanks to our years of experience helping students get into their programs of choice and thorough research this Article will cover everything, the Application Process, Requirements, Interview, and Cost Breakdown for all the Program providers like IndiGo Cadet Program, Air India FlyHigh Cadet Program, and SpiceJet Cadet Pilot Program.

Table of Contents : 

  1.  Cadet Pilot Program
  2.  Cadet Pilot Requirements
  3.  IndiGo Cadet Pilot Program
    1.  CAE
    2.  L3-Harris
    3.  FTA
    4.  Skyborne
    5.  NZICPA
    6.  INSIGHT Aviation
    7.  Chimes Aviation Academy
  4.  Air India Cadet Pilot Program
  5.  SpiceJet Cadet Pilot Program
  6.  Salaries of Pilot in India (UPDATED!!)
  7.  Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
  8.  Links to Useful Websites

Cadet Pilot Program  

Indigo Cadet Pilot Programs
Indigo Cadet Pilot Programs

With how quickly the aviation market is expanding it was bound to happen that airlines are running low on pilots thus this new phenomenon of Cadet Pilot Programs has started to fill the void and give rise to a new generation of pilots that have been trained as per industry standards that have been set by the airlines. Currently, three major programs are running that is the Indigo Cadet Pilot Programme which has several Flight Training Organizations (FTOs) that IndiGo has partnered with to provide several options to interested prospects and future pilots, other options include the newly launched FlyHigh Pilot Cadet Program by Air India and SpiceJets Cadet Pilot Program. These programs have been quite popular as they take an individual with zero aviation experience and turn them into competent pilots and handle every aspect of your training starting with your CPL then Type rating and concluding with induction into their fleet as a First Officer!

The main draw of these Cadet Programs is the direct induction into the airline without going through an airline vacancy, as with the Conventional Route. Each FTO will be open for admissions a few times every year and they will have to go through an initial screening before they can be accepted as a Cadet and given a Letter of Intent (LOI) which will enable the cadet to join the airline on successful completion of the program. 

Cadets will also not have to worry about the paperwork and documentation as everything will be handled by your FTO. Most of the Programs also provide Accommodation and Food on Campus and have several modern amenities to make your stay during the training phase as smooth as possible.

Cadet Pilot Program Requirements : 

Every Program has different requirements but a few of these are common among all of them-

  1. You must be an Indian national or Overseas Citizen of India (OCI Card Holder). 
  1. You must be proficient in English both written and verbal, you might also be asked to take an English Language Proficiency Test since English is the language of Aviation.
  1. You must possess a Class 2 Medical at the time of registering, and be able to attain and maintain a Class 1 Medical.

Do note that every program application process will require a one-time processing Fee and Additional Fees for all the tests conducted before you are accepted. All of the Programs have a Cooling Off period in case you fail to pass their Interview Stage thus it is very important to be well-prepared. If you have any doubts on how to clear the Interview and Tests conducted you can always Contact Us!

IndiGo Cadet Pilot Training Programs : 

The largest Indigo Cadet Pilot Program is currently in India because of the sheer size of the operation and the large number of Cadet intakes every year. IndiGo has partnered with seven Flight Training Organizations(FTOs) to provide their Cadets with a wide variety of options, out of the seven only two FTOs do the majority of their training in India namely CAE and Chimes. We will be breaking down each FTOs Pros and Cons, Let’s look at all the FTOs that we can choose from-

  1. CAE 
  2. L3-Harris
  3. FTA(Flight Training Adelaide)
  4. Skyborne
  6. INSIGHT Aviation
  7. Chimes Aviation Academy

IndiGo Cadet Pilot Requirements:-

Since all programs are in partnership with IndiGo all of them have the same requirements which are-

  1. Age requirement: Applicants must be between 18 and 32 years old.
  2. Citizenship and residency: Candidates must hold a valid passport and have the unrestricted right to live and work in India, along with the ability to travel worldwide without restrictions.
  3. Language proficiency: Proficiency in English, both verbal and written, is essential.
  4. Medical certification: Applicants must be able to acquire and maintain an Indian DGCA Class 1 Medical Certificate.
  5. Educational qualifications: A minimum education qualification of 10+2 with a minimum score of 51% is required individually in each subject, including Physics, Mathematics, and English. 
  6.  Candidates without an Indian Class 1 medical certificate may apply for the IndiGo Programme with a Class II medical certificate, but they must obtain an Indian Class 1 medical certificate before starting the Programme.

(a) CAE :

CAE Aviation is a globally renowned provider of comprehensive aviation services, specializing in aircraft operations, training, and maintenance. CAE Gonidia has jointly ventured with NFTI( National Flight Training Institute) to provide the IndiGo Cadet Pilot Program. 

The majority of the training is done in India at NFTI, the flying school has a large fleet of 12x Single Engine Diamond 40 aircraft and 2x Multi Engine Diamond 42 and operates out of Birsi Airport Gonidia. Let us look at the assessment procedure-

Cadet Pilot Program Assessment Procedure

The first stage is the online Assessment Test which includes Computer-based tests that assess pilot aptitude, hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and spatial awareness. This might seem complicated but in reality, these are very basic tests it will definitely help if you know someone who has cleared these tests that is why we recommend joining a Cadet Pilot Program Course before applying for any Programs.

The second stage is commenced only after you clear the first stage, you will be invited to participate in a group activity assessment. A panel from IndiGo will monitor this session. It aims to evaluate your communication skills and teamwork skills.

The final stage involves a one-on-one interview with the IndiGo selection panel.

Upon completing all assessment stages and clearing them successfully you will be officially given a Letter of Intent(LOI) which is a document that shows that IndiGo will hire you as a Junior First Officer after successful completion of the Cadet Program and Induct you into either their Airbus A320 fleet

Cadet Pilot Program Training Breakdown

Upon commencement of training, no time is wasted in Phase 1 of training you will have 4 months of Ground Classes, which aim to cover all of the ground subjects such as Aviation Meteorology, Air Navigation, Air Regulation, Technical General, Technical Specific, and Radio Telephony. If you have already cleared your DGCA Exams before joining you will not be given an exemption from attending and paying for the ground classes as they are compulsory. Following that your CPL training will take another 14 months which includes flying as well as simulator training in which you will complete the 220 hours required to attain a DGCA CPL in India.

TrainingDurationTotal Duration
Ground Theory750 Hrs.4 months
Total Flight Training – DGCA CPL(Single & Multi-Engine)200 Hrs.14 months
Simulator Training30 Hrs.

Phase 2 of Training involves the Airbus A320 Type Rating which can be done in India, Malaysia or Thailand and takes a total of 70 days.

TrainingDurationTotal Duration
Ground School JIT & MCC5 Days70 Days
Simulator32 Hrs.
Ground School A320 TR12 Days
CPT36 Hrs.
Simulator44 Hrs

DGCA Exams, Weather Disruptions, Visa Applications, Licensing, etc can increase the Program duration.

Cadet Pilot Course Fee / Cost

The Program cost is broken down into CPL and Type Rating, CPL Training costs Rs 42 Lakhs + Taxes and TR costs USD 31500 + Taxes, All in all with current conversion rates we estimate the course will cost at least 90 Lakhs this fee also includes transportation during your Phase 1, Uniforms, Training Material and 24/7 Medical Nurse at Campus. Do note that Accommodation, Food, Medical Costs, DGCA Exam Fees, and License Charges are not included.

Accommodation is provided on campus with modern amenities like WiFi availability, a Gymnasium, a Sports Complex, Badminton Courts, a Cafeteria, and a Cadet Lounge. 

(b) L3-Harris :

L3-Harris is a world-renowned leader in aviation training solutions provider that deals with both Military and Commercial Oriented Training. L3-Harris provides a Cadet Pilot Program for Air India and a Recruitment partner with several European Airlines which is a testament to their excellent track record.

 The entirety of the Program will be done Overseas out of which the CPL Phase is done in their L3-Harris Flight School, Orlando, Florida which is based in Orlando-Sandford International Airport which receives up to 300 days of Sunny Weather which will enable break-free flying, the training will be done on Single Engine aircraft Cessna 172 and Cirrus SR20, and Multi Engine Piper PA44.

The Assessment Procedure is the same as CAE and is the same among all the IndiGo Cadet Pilot Programs with minimal differences.

Cadet Pilot Course Training Breakdown : 

Once you have cleared the Assessment Procedure Successfully, the First Phase commences, The first phase provides the required training to obtain a US FAA CPL with Multi-Engine (ME) and Instrument Rating (IR) and the conversion from a US FAA license to an Indian CPL will be done in India at a partner training organization that is arranged by L3Harris.

                    Training        Location    Duration
DGCA Ground SchoolIndia3 months
CPL with Multi-Engine Add-OnSanford, Florida16 months
Flight License ConversionIndia1 month

After the Successful Completion of the First Phase, the Second Phase commenced which involves getting the Airbus A320 Type Rating which can be either done in the USA or Thailand

                    Training            Location    Duration
DGCA A320 Type RatingUSA or Thailand2 months

The total duration of the program is estimated to be 20 months but can take longer.

IndiGo Cadet Pilot Programs Fee :

The Program Fee is an estimated Rs 1.2 Cr – 1.3 Cr and includes-

  1. Ground Classes, 
  2. CPL training in Florida, 
  3. Conversion of CPL in India and
  4. Type Rating in USA or Thailand 
  5. Equipment, 
  6. Uniforms  
  7. DGCA Exam Fees, 
  8. USA FAA CPL Exam Fees, 
  9. Flight Ticket Costs To and From India, the USA, and Thailand

(c) FTA(Flight Training Adelaide) :

Flight Training Adelaide (FTA), situated in Australia, is a flight training institute offering some of the best pilot training programs. Established in 1982, FTA is best known for its modern facilities, which include a fleet of modern aircraft and advanced simulators. These are used for courses from ab initio flight instruction to ab initio airline pilot training. They are a recruitment partner with Qantas Airlines the Flag Carrier for Australia and offer Cadet Pilot Programs for other airlines like Cathay Pacific, JAL, Star Lux, and China Airlines. 

All the flying training for the IndiGo Cadet Pilot Programs is done at either their Adelaide or Toowoomba Campus. Their fleet mainly consists of Single Engine Diamond DA 40 and Multi-Engine DA 42.

Their Assessment Procedure is similar to CAE the only difference is that there is an additional stage where you will have to clear the CUT-e Assessment by FTA which is a test designed to gauge Aptitude and Understanding. We recommend joining the TCA FTA Cadet Pilot Program to ensure you can clear all tests and will not face any issues during the Assessment Procedure and Ground School Phase.

Pilot Training Breakdown

FTA has a training regimen that involves cadet travel to two countries. The program has four distinct phases:

Phase 1: In India, cadets learn DGCA ground theory and undergo examinations.

Phase 2: Cadets transition to Australia, where they pursue their CASA CPL, along with training in Single-Engine Instrument Rating (SECIR) and the Multi Engine (ME) Rating.

Phase 3: Back in India, cadets start the DGCA Licence conversion flying.

Phase 4: The program ends in India with Airbus A320-type rating training, preparing cadets for advanced aircraft operations

IndiGo Cadet Pilot Course Cost India :

The Program fee is estimated to be Rs 1.22 Cr + or AUD 225000+ and when compared to other FTOs Flight Training Adelaide seems like an excellent choice as Accommodation and Food are provided for every stage of your training.

Flight Tickets To and From between the countries are not included but Cadets will be able to use FTA corporate discount rates.

Let’s Look at everything that is included in the Course Fee for FTA IndiGo Cadet Pilot Program-

Phase 1 – Licence Conversion Ground Theory (India) Course Duration: 3 months

  1. Licence Conversion Ground Theory
  2. Training materials
  3. Accommodation for 3 months
  4. Meals for 3 months
  5. 1st attempt at all ground theory tests
  6. License fees
  7. Tax included

Phase 2 – CPL, SE CIR & ME Module (Australia) Course Duration: 46 weeks

  1. Training materials
  2. Uniform
  3. English Language Test
  4. Overseas Health Insurance
  5. CASA medical license
  6. Accommodation for 46 weeks
  7. Meals for 46 weeks
  8. 1st attempt at all flight and ground theory tests
  9. License fees
  10.  Landing fees
  11.  24-hour access to the internet
  12.  24-hour access to the gymnasium
  13.  24-hour student welfare support
  14.  Australian Government Goods and Services Tax included

Phase 3 – Licence Conversion Flying Module (India) Course Duration: 2 weeks

  1. Training materials
  2. Accommodation for 2 weeks
  3. Meals for 2 weeks
  4. Transport from accommodation facilities to training center
  5. 1st attempt at all flight tests
  6. DGCA Class 1 Medical Renewal
  7. Tax included

Phase 4 – Type rating (India) Course Duration: 38 days

  1. Training materials
  2. Accommodation for 38 days
  3. Meals for 38 days
  4. 1st attempt at all flight and ground theory tests
  5. 24-hour student welfare support
  6. Type Rating DGCA Conversion Fee
  7. Transport from accommodation facilities to training facilities
  8. Tax included

(d) Skyborne :

Based in sunny Vero Beach, Florida, Skyborne Airline Academy is yet another FTO that operates out of Florida. They have an excellent track record and reputation as the training partner for Delta Airlines one of the Legacy Airlines in the USA and other airlines like Endeavor, Envoy, and Skywest.

All the flying done for the IndiGo Cadet Pilot Program will be done exclusively on their large 50 + Aircraft Fleet of Cessna 172, Piper Warrior, Arrow, and Seminole Aircraft. The campus is located close to Vero Beach Regional Airport where you will be flying from.

Skyborne follows a similar Assessment Procedure as the other Programs

Training Breakdown :

Skyborne recommends students clear all of their DGCA exams beforehand before registering. Program Duration is an estimated 17-20 months

      Phase      Location              Description  Duration
Phase 1USAUS FAA CPL SEIR12 months
Phase 2USA to IndiaDGCA Flight License Conversion2 months
Phase 3IndiaIndiGo Approved Type Rating Provider3 months

Cadet Pilot Program Course Fee :

The Program Fee is estimated to be Rs 1.1-1.2 Cr +, now let’s look at what is included and excluded in that Fee-

Phase 1 – FAA CPL IR Class Rating, Course duration: 13 months

  1. Training materials – Included
  2. Uniform – Included
  3. Overseas Health Insurance – Excluded
  4. India DGCA Class 1 medical – Excluded
  5. US FAA Class 1 medical – Excluded
  6. US FAA medical license (renewal) – Excluded
  7. India – USA (return) flights – Included
  8. Airport to accommodation transfers – Included
  9. Executive accommodation for 13 months – Included
  10.  1st attempt at all flight and ground theory tests – Included
  11.   Radio Telephone Licence – Excluded
  12.  Flight training hours on C-172 (CPL IR) and PA-44 Seminole (IR) – Included
  13.  USA Goods and Services Tax – Included
  14.  Transport from accommodation facilities to training facilities – Included
  15.  All flight training fees – Included

Phase 2 – Flight Licence Conversion, India, Course duration: 2 months

  1. Training materials – Included
  2. Uniform – Included
  3. All Flight Training and Tests to convert to DGCA Licence – Included
  4. 1st attempt at all flight and ground theory tests – Included
  5. 24-hour student welfare support – Included
  6. Accommodation – Included only during flying at the FTO

Phase 3 – Combined MCC and A320 Type Rating, Course duration: 3 months

  1. Training materials – Included
  2. Uniform – Included
  3. International flights – Included
  4. Accommodation – Included
  5. 1st attempt at all skill tests – Included
  6. DGCA Endorsement Fee – Included
Indigo Cadet pilot program in India

(e) NZICPA :

New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy (NZICPA) is an FTO that is nestled in the beautiful landscape of Whanganui, New Zealand. It is a trusted Aviation Academy known for having a truly diverse environment and is very popular among International Students. NZICPA is in partnership with Flightrule Aviation Services, which currently takes in all the IndiGo Cadet Pilot Programs registrations.

The campus operates out of Whanganui Airport and has a fleet of Cessna 152, Cessna 172, Diamond DA 40 Diamond DA 42, and Partenavia PA 68.

The assessment Procedure is slightly different as the First Stage consists of ADAPT Testing which will done at their Testing Center in Delhi

Training Breakdown :

Program duration is an estimated 24 Months +

              Training        Location    Duration
Ground ClassIndia3 months
FlyingNew Zealand15 months
License ConversionIndia3-4 months
Type RatingAbu Dhabi2 months

Indigo Cadet Pilot Course Fee :

Program Fee is estimated to be Rs 1.1 Cr + or USD 12500, If the applicant has already cleared DGCA exams then the Ground School Fee of USD 3571 is not charged. Do note that accommodation and Meals are not included during the Ground School and Type Rating Phase.

                                    Training      Cost

(f) INSIGHT Aviation :

Insight Aviation partnered with South Africa’s leading Flight Training Organization, 43 Air School, to offer a customized and comprehensive IndiGo Cadet Pilot Program. The program emphasizes Operational capability, Effective and adaptable procedures, Applied operational knowledge, and Confident command skills all of which will produce Highly Skilled and Experienced Pilots.

The majority of the flying will done in 43 Air School, Port Alfred Aerodrome, South Africa. Their fleet mainly consists of  Cessna 172, Piper PA 28, Piper Cherokee 180, Piper Arrow 200 PA 28R, Piper Seneca PA 34R

INSIGHT Aviation follows a similar Assessment Procedure as the other programs.

Training Breakdown :

Program Duration is estimated to be 21+ Months

              Training          Location      Duration
Ground SchoolIndia4 months
Flying TrainingSouth Africa11 months
Conversion FlyingIndia4 months
Type RatingTBD2 months

IndiGo Cadet Pilot Cost / Fees :

The Indigo Cadet Pilot Program Fee is estimated to be 1.1Cr+ or USD 127500, let us look at what is included in this fee-

DGCA CPL Ground School (Stage 1, India) Duration: 3 Months

  1. Ground class included
  2. Courseware and training material provided
  3. The first attempt at DGCA CPL exams covered
  4. License fees included
  5. DGCA Class 1 Medical: Not included
  6. Medical insurance: Not included
  7. Local transport: Not included
  8. Accommodation & Meals: Not included
  9. Tax: Included
  10. SACAA CPL SE IR & ME (Stage 2, South Africa) Duration: 46 Weeks
  11.  Courseware and training material provided
  12.  English Language Proficiency included
  13.  Medical insurance including excess provided
  14.  SACAA Class-1 Medical (Initial Issue) provided
  15.  Round trip airfare and visa included
  16.  Accommodation & Meals provided
  17.  Local transport provided
  18.  SACAA Ground Exams (1st attempt only) covered
  19.  SACAA License fees covered
  20.  Tax: Included
License Conversion Flying Module (Stage 3, India) Duration: 8 Weeks
  1. Accommodation & Meals provided
  2. Local transport provided
  3. Flight Check (1st attempt only) covered
  4. Medical insurance: Not included
  5. DGCA License fees covered
  6. Tax: Included
Type Rating Course (Stage 4) Duration: 8 Weeks
  1. Airfare (India – ATO Country – India) included
  2. Type Rating DGCA Endorsement fees covered
  3. Medical insurance: Not included
  4. Local transport: Not included
  5. Tax: Included
  6. Accommodation & Meals: Not included

(g)Chimes Aviation Academy :

CAA was founded in 2008 and since then has become a premier Flight Training Institution that has produced thousands of pilots. Widely regarded as one of the best and most professional Flying Schools in India. IndiGo and CAA partnered in 2021 to provide a world-class training experience locally.

CAA operates its main base from Dhana Airstrip, Madhya Pradesh, their fleet consists of Cessna 172, Piper Archer DX, and Diamond DA 42.

CAA follows a similar Assessment Process as the other programs

Training Breakdown :

The first Phase of the Indigo Cadet Pilot Programs involves obtaining CPL

                              Training      Hours
Single Engine Aircraft185
Diamond DA 42 Multi-Engine15
Simulator Flying30

After obtaining their Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), In Phase Two the cadet will proceed to advanced training of Airbus A320 with MCC/JOT at an IndiGo-approved TRTO partner in India or overseas.

IndiGo Cadet Pilot Course cost :

The Program is the most affordable out of all the Indigo Cadet Pilot Programs, it costs Rs 89.2 L. Let’s see what is included in the Fee-

DGCA, WPC, and related regulatory feesCost associated with regulatory paperwork and approvals.Included
Boarding & lodging, and mealsAccommodation and food expenses during the training program.Included
All course materialsBooks, stationery, and any study materials provided during the training.Included
UniformsCost of uniforms required for the training program.Included
DGCA Class 1 Medical Renewal costCost for renewing Class 1 Medical certification as required by DGCA.Included
Visa fee (if required)Fees associated with obtaining a visa, if necessary for the training location.Included

Airliens Pilot Salaries

Everyone knows that it is extremely high-paying to be a Commercial Pilot in India. Many people who dream of becoming pilots choose this profession because they like the aviation industry in general. A Genrely person chooses a very High salary earning department. But pilot carriers offer are offer some lucky people.

After Completion of your IndiGo Cadet Pilot Program, you will be inducted into the Airline as a Junior First Officer.

Salaries of Indian Pilots in 2024 are –

  1. Junior First Officer – Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,50,000
  2. First Officer – Rs 2,35,000 to Rs 2,75,000
  3. Senior First Officer – Rs 3,00,000 to Rs 4,50,000
  4. Captain – Rs 4,50,000 to Rs 6,50,000
  5. Senior Captain – Rs 6,50,000 to 8L+

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs) :

Question: What is a Cadet Pilot Program?

Answer: A cadet pilot program is a specialized training program designed to train individuals with zero experience to become professional airline pilots.

Question: What qualifications do you need for aviation?

Answer: You need aviation obtained Must have 51% aggregate in PCM in your 12th-grade exams. The Candidates must meet the DGCA’s medical fitness requirements, and be at least eighteen years old.

Question: What are the kinds of tests I need to pass to get into the IndiGo Cadet Pilot Program?

Answer: Applicants need to pass tests that assess their Understanding Ability, Ability to Act Under Stress, cognitive abilities, and aptitude for flying. These tests are usually conducted online and include in-person interviews.

Question: How to prepare for the IndiGo Cadet Pilot Programme?

Answer: We at TCA Provide IndiGo Cadet Pilot Program Courses that are tailored as per each FTO and their requirements. If you need more information, You can always Contact Us!

Question: What is the benefit of clearing the DGCA Exam before joining?

Answer: Yes! Clearing them prior will mean you will not have to wait in between your training to clear your exams. We recommend joining a reputed Ground Class  like TCA to help you with your DGCA Exams

Question: What are the indiGo Cadet Pilot Program Fees?

Answer: In 2024 most of the Programs are at a minimum of Rs 90 Lac +, do note most FTOs will allow you to finance the Fees through loans.

Question: What is a Letter of Intent(LOI)?

Answer: Cadets who have cleared the Selection Procedure are given a Letter of Intent (LOI) which will enable the cadet to join the airline upon successful completion of the program.

Question: What are the salaries of airline pilots in India after completing the IndiGo Cadet Pilot Program?

Answer: Junior First Officers can e­arn a monthly salary ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1.5 lakhs. Senior captains can potentially rece­ive up to Rs 8 lakhs in their monthly pay.

Useful Links :

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