Trainee pilots at the L3 Harris Commercial Aviation Academy say they have been left with the choice of paying an additional £65,000 to avoid losing up to £100,000 after Easyjet terminated its job offers.
The trainees where on a Multi-Crew Pilot Licence (MPL) course with L3 Harris on the basis that they had job offers with the airline to complete their base training.
The withdraw of those offers means that if the Cadet wants to continue on the MPL course and obtain a full type rating they face additional costs of around £65,000
In an open letter to L3 Harris, a group of cadets accuse the training provider of “attempting to profiteer off the misfortune and misguidance of their cadets” as it continues to try to recruit cadets on the MPL course whilst the current intake face uncertainty.
A spokesperson for Easyjet said: “As a result of the unprecedented impact of the pandemic and related travel restrictions on the industry our requirement for cadet pilots has been reduced for the foreseeable future and so we have had to take the very difficult decision to withdraw conditional offers of employment for those due to join easyJet on completion of their pilot training.
“We have worked closely with their training providers to inform them of the training options available to them, including completing their training to become a qualified pilot. We are very sorry for the disappointment this decision will have caused however we are having to take difficult steps across our business to ensure the future of the airline and protect jobs in the long term.”
L3 Harris said that they are: “continuing to work with the regulatory authorities and airlines to determine the most effective solution for the cadets affected.” and says the affected cadets have four options:
- Those on an airline ATPL course can choose to transfer to a standard ATPL course with no additional payment to L3Harris.
- Those on an MPL course can choose to continue the MPL training with L3Harris at the previously agreed costs. We are in ongoing discussions with the CAA and airlines to arrive at the best outcome for cadets selecting this path. We have provided further details to cadets following updated information from the CAA.
- Alternatively, MPL cadets have the option to switch to a standard ATPL. L3Harris has been actively engaging with the CAA to understand details of additional training that the regulations require for this to happen. This course of action is entirely at the cadet’s discretion.
- Finally, if a cadet decides they wish to reconsider their training, they can withdraw from training and receive a refund for any undelivered training.
So the choice for those a considerable way through their training seems simply walk away and lose the money, carry the debt, or find the additional funding to switch to the more conventional Air Transport Pilots Licence (ATPL) route and with the industry not expected to recover for several years, its hard to see finance providers falling over themselves to find extra funding.
L3 Harris said: “The outlook for each cadet is different. Our focus at this time is to support cadets with an understanding of the options available so they can make an informed decision following the airline’s employment withdrawal.” adding that they “stand ready to complete the training for those cadets affected.”
Since publication, L3Harris have said that CAA has confirmed they will be able to issue a “restricted type rating” upon completion of the MPL which gives cadets another option of staying on the MPL course.