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Modular vs. Integrated

We explain the two main routes to becoming a commercial pilot.


Integrated flight training consists of a single course designed to take you from having never been in control of an aircraft before to qualified for your first job with an airline. The training is intensive, typically taking 18 months full time. Courses quite often involve a number of months away from home with companies having bases in other countries, such as New Zealand or America, where flight training is cheaper.

Integrated training is specifically catered to train you for an airline job and some airlines have strong ties with the larger integrated schools.

Integrated training is however quite expensive with courses in excess of £100,000 and is often required up front. This often requires financing options with pilots paying back training loans once they get a job. This one off payment also means that you are committed in the event of a global or personal incident which may affect your career prospects.

Modular Flight Training


  • Integrated is the quickest way to go from no experience to a job

  • More structured guidance throughout the process

  • Strong links with some airlines can help with career prospects


  • Much more expensive than the Modular route.

  • No flexibility with the course structure

  • No option to work whilst training

  • Commitment to training once signed up

  • No pay as you go option

  • Often involves significant time abroad, away from loved ones.


Modular flight training consists of a series of individual courses that are done over a period of time. This route starts with the Private Pilot Licence. Once that is completed you will complete hour building and ATPL theoretical examinations. Finally you will complete a number of commercial courses including the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), Instrument Rating (IR) and a Multi Crew Cooperation Course (MCC).

This allows you to fit the training in with your life but means that you need to have more self-discipline when studying. The links with major airlines are not as strong too although this does seem to becoming less prevalent.

The main difference with Modular training tends to be cheaper, costing in the region of £60,000, roughly £40,000 less than the integrated route.

Integrated Flight Training


  • Flexibility to go at your own pace

  • Training can be completed alongside full or part time employment

  • Much cheaper than an integrated course

  • No need to pay for all the training up front


  • Initial training does not focus towards commercial pilots

  • Requires discipline to self-study

  • Not as strong links with major airlines.


Both integrated and modular training routes result in the same finished article, a commercial pilot licence. The main advantage of the integrated route being the intensity of the training although this can be replicated with the Modular route if you have the time available and the determination.

The modular route on the other hand offers much more flexibility at a much lower price. At Westair we think the Modular route is the way to go. The lower price and options for flexibility far outweigh the benefit of an intensive course. 

Additionally whilst some major airlines do have strong links with integrated schools this is becoming less the case all the time with some airlines looking to spread the risk and hire from a diverse selection of candidates. The modular route will allow you to build real world experience that will enhance your C.V. and make you stand out from the crowd.

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