How to Become a Pilot in India in 2024

Hi there, future Pilot! Your interest in becoming a pilot must have brought you to this page.  You might be wondering how to become a Pilot in India after 12th Grade? Is becoming a Pilot your dream or are you simply just curious on how to become a Pilot in India? If you answer yes to one of these, then this “How to become a Pilot in India 2024” Guide is for you!

You probably have a multitude of questions when it comes to qualifications, duration, and requirements necessary for pilot training in India. Fret not, as we, at Aviationfly, have compiled the most basic things you need to know when planning to take your pilot course/program in India through this How to become a Pilot in India 2022.

But before we walk you through the following step-by-step guide, did you know that in recent years, the high demand for air travel has facilitated a great demand for new Indian pilots? Airlines in India have over 1,000 aircraft on order over the next eight years. However, according to Boeing and Airbus estimates, this number would need to be doubled to meet the demand of Indian air travel. Moreover, over the next four years, Indian airlines will add an average of more than 100 aircraft per year. This means that they would require over 1,000 new pilots every year! Therefore, there is not a better time to start your pilot training than now!

Aviationfly has helped many aspiring pilots just like you become a pilot with our How to become a Pilot in India 2022 Guide. In this page, we will walk you through all the steps that you need to take into consideration when pursuing your dream of becoming either a private pilot, commercial pilot, or airline transport pilot.

Step 1. Do research on the available flight training options in India

You need to know what pilot training programs are being offered in the country and which among those is the most suitable for you. This is where you should take into account what is your aviation goal. Do you want to obtain a Private Pilot License (PPL) or a Commercial Pilot License (CPL)? Are you seeking to work for an airline? If yes, then an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) is for you. Do you aim to attain a college degree at the same time too? Or do you see yourself joining the military, particularly the Air Force?
Did we lose you? Don’t panic! If you’re not familiar with the terms or can’t choose which license is right for you, you can send in your questions and our team will be happy to help you out.

Here are your options:

  • Flight School

There are over 30 flight schools in India that offer different pilot training programs that you can choose from. It is important that you create a list of your preferred flight school/s so you can compare which is fitting for you. Each school has its own procedures, enrollment requirements, and depending on which pilot training courses you decide to take, the tuition fee also varies.

  • Aviation-related college degree program

However, if you’re interested in obtaining a college degree accompanied with flight training, you should consider aviation-related college degree programs. These programs allow students to combine a college degree with flight training. With this kind of program, you will earn a college degree together with a pilot license such as Commercial Pilot License (CPL) in most cases. This will give you the opportunity to have the best of both worlds.

  • Airline cadet pilot program

Meanwhile, if your greatest childhood dream is to become an airline pilot, you should consider airline cadet pilot programs. Airlines often sponsor these programs and students are guaranteed employment upon course completion. In this pilot program, you will obtain an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL). You can reach out to us to get an insight on the options currently available.

  • Join the military

Finally, if you’re interested in serving your country, you can join the Indian Air Force. The Government will sponsor your flight training but you will have to stay with the military for around 12 years after completion before you can apply to commercial airlines.

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Step 2. Look up the Basic Requirements

  • What is the minimum age to become a pilot in India?

You need to be at least 17 years old to start your pilot training in India. However, at 16 years old, you can already be issued a Student Pilot License (SPL).

  • What do I need to start pilot training in India?

In order to start your pilot training, you will need to secure a medical certificate. The best way to do this is to speak with the flight school you would like to enroll in and they will help arrange it for you.

  • What are the minimum educational requirements to become a pilot in India?

Potential students must have at least a high school degree (class 12) with at least 50% in Math and Physics.

  • What level of English do I need to become a pilot in India?

Since the language of aviation internationally is English, it is recommended to have at least a level 4 English standard before receiving your pilot license. If you are looking to improve your English, you can send us a message and we will give you tips on what courses to take.

  • What is the maximum age for airline pilots in India?

The retirement age for airline pilots is 67 years old.

*Note: These requirements are based on the Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (Indian DGCA).

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Step 3. Decide on which training stages you will have to undergo

In general, there are five (5) different pilot training stages in which students need to complete depending on what their goal is. The stages of pilot training are as follows:

  • Student Pilot License (SPL)

The first pilot license you will need to obtain is a student pilot license. This license allows you to start your flight training. To get an Indian student pilot certificate, you need to be at least 16 years old, and able to speak, understand, read, and write in the English language at the minimum level required by the Indian DGCA.

  • Private Pilot License (PPL)

The private pilot license will allow you to fly solo, passengers, or cargo but without monetary compensation. In order to get an Indian private pilot license, you must be at least 17 years old, be a holder of SPL, and pass all the ground school exams and flight check ride by the Indian DGCA. The minimum flight experience requirement by the Indian GDCA is 20 hours of solo flight time.

  • Commercial Pilot License (CPL)

To start earning from flying, you will need to obtain a commercial pilot license. This license allows you to become a paid professional pilot. In order to obtain a commercial pilot license in India, you will need to meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Must be over 18 years old
  • A private pilot license holder
  • Have over 100 hours flying time as pilot in command of which not less than 15 hours must be completed within 6 months starting from the date of application.
  • Have over 20 hours of cross-country flight time as pilot in command including a cross-country flight of not less than 300 nautical miles.
  • At least 10 hours of instrument time and 5 hours flight time by night with a minimum of 10 take-offs and 10 landings as a pilot in command. You can find the Indian DGCA document for the Indian commercial pilot license here.

Both Instrument Rating and Multi-Engine Rating are add-ons to your pilot license…

  • Instrument Rating (IR)

Being instrument-rated means that you can fly the aircraft in any weather condition (for example low or zero visibility) using just the instruments. Flight schools offer Instrument Rating along with their commercial pilot training. But this can also be obtained separately.

  • Multi-Engine Rating (MER)

The multi-engine rating will allow you to fly multi-engine aircraft. Flight schools offer Multi-Engine Rating along with their private pilot training and commercial pilot training. But this can also be obtained separately.

  • Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL)

ATPL is the highest level of Aircraft Pilot Certificate that allows you to act as a pilot in command on scheduled air carriers. 

If you have any questions so far, feel free to use chat messenger to send us a message.

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Step 4. Choose a flight school

After doing your research on the type of license you would like to obtain, the next step is to choose which flight school is the most suitable for your budget.

So, how much does pilot training cost?

It is important to note that becoming a pilot requires a certain budget. The minimum is around Rs. 32 Lakh (approximately US $46,000) and higher. Your flight training cost depends on the country you do your training, the flight school you pick, and a number of other factors.

If you decide to do your flight training within the country, there are approximately 40 pilot schools in India for you to choose from. You can find a list of flight training institutes in India by registering with us. on Our flight school directory has a list of all the latest active flight schools in India including their brief background, pilot training courses being offered, the school’s fleet details, what they can offer to you, and other information. It takes an average of 1 to 3 years to obtain a commercial pilot license in India and costs around Rs. 45 Lakhs (US $67,000).

On the other hand, if you decide to do your flight training abroad, there are a number of popular countries to choose from. Some of which include the US, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The training tuition fee in these countries is usually less expensive than in India. Moreover, training durations are often a lot shorter. is in contact with pilot training schools abroad that have trained a large number of Indian pilots for CPL in less than 12 months. One important thing to note is that after your training, you will have to convert your license to an Indian DGCA license.

As mentioned above, another alternative is to enroll in an airline pilot program. Once you have successfully passed your pilot training, you will be employed by the airlines that have set up the program. An example of this is IndiGo Airlines. This kind of program costs around Rs. 90 to 100 Lakhs (US $120,000+).

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Step 5. Consider your Career Options

Many aspiring pilots have a defined career path they would like to pursue, while others don’t.

Below is a list of options for what you can potentially do with a pilot license.

  • Airline pilot for large airlines or smaller regional ones
  • Corporate or business aviation pilot
  • Cargo pilot
  • Charter / Air taxi pilot
  • Flight instructor
  • Medical/ Air ambulance pilots
  • Agricultural pilot and many more options

A frequently asked question with our How to become a Pilot in India 2022 Guide is: How much does an Airline Captain in India make? The short answer is around US$12,000 per month plus benefits (which is INR 865,000)*!

*This/these number/numbers is/are based on available data and research conducted in the year 2019. There is no guarantee that the number/s provided is/are accurate. Please read our Disclaimer.

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Tips for Picking a Flight School

Tip 1. Decide on your pilot goals
Firstly, ask yourself – what are your long-term aspirations in aviation? Do you want to become a pilot in your free time (Private Pilot License)? Or do you want to fly in General Aviation (Commercial Pilot License)? Do you want to become an airline pilot through an airline pilot cadet program? Additionally, which airlines are currently hiring? What type of aircraft will be utilized by airlines in the next few years? Which flight schools do the airlines usually hire from? Best to ask flight schools if they have partnerships with airlines. These are critical questions you should list and get answers to when asking yourself “how will I become a Pilot”.

Tip 2. Determine how much you can afford to spend
Secondly, different flight schools have different costs (due to location, number of students, aircraft type and several other factors), find out the reasons for the price difference. Moreover, do these programs have financial assistance/loan programs? Might a part-time program work for you?

Tip 3. Determine how much free time you have
Each flight training school has its own training schedules with some offering flexibility while others want the cadets to train full time and on campus. Note that delaying flight training usually increases your training costs.

Tip 4. Find out what type of aircraft the flight school uses and information about its aircraft maintenance center
This is important from a training point of view, but even more importantly, from a safety aspect. Furthermore, you should also take into consideration the equipment preference of airlines. Aircraft age does not always relate to safety, this is dependent on the aircraft maintenance – ask the flight school in detail about their aircraft maintenance department and safety features of the aircraft.

Tip 5. Visit your shortlist of flight schools
Finally, when possible, speak to the instructors and flight school management teams to learn about the training, safety policies, history, and graduates of the flight school.

Do you still have questions? Send us a message!

You can also check out How to become a Pilot in the Philippines or other countries by navigating on our platform or simply just reaching out to our team through chat.

Goodluck, future Pilot! 

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