MPL or ATPL, It’s a topic that never ceases to rouse heated discussion; we see it debated around Europe at leading industry events, training schools and airline boardrooms.
So, which should I choose? Which is better for me? What is the difference?
If you’re an individual about to embark upon one of these routes with the ambition of becoming an airline pilot, or even a friend/parent/partner of an aspiring pilot; trying to understand the differences and benefits between the MPL and ATPL, we know it can be a challenge.
The Multi-Crew Pilot Licence (MPL) was introduced in 2006 by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as an airline-specific alternative to the more traditional cadet route: the Airline Pilot Transport Licence (ATPL).
The new licence was received with mixed emotions. In 2013, the most vocal advocates predicted that the majority of airlines would get their pilots through this new ‘competency-based’ route by 2020.
There’s no denying the growth in popularity of the airline MPL course, but today we still see the ATPL route standing strong.
What’s the difference between MPL and ATPL?
Knowing both are legitimate and industry recognised routes to the flight deck, how do you know which one is for you? Join us below as we take a much close look into the routes.
Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL)
T he traditional ATPL route was designed to give an individual a real all-round experience and solid footing in aviation. It’s built upon hands on flight experience that is more focused on single engine and multi engine operations than on the multi-crew environment. In fact, you don’t experience a multi-crew situation until the very final stages of training .
ATPL courses are be available through Approved Training organisations (ATO) under a few guises:
When done full-time, ATPL training typically lasts round 18 months. You will not walk away with an ATPL but in fact a ‘frozen’ ATPL (fATPL). You can apply for jobs and work as a line flying pilot, but your licence will not be “unfrozen” until you have racked up 1500 flying hours. See our handy guide to unfreezing your ATPL below.
The first difference between ATPL and MPL
Here we meet the first difference between ATPL and MPL. You can do your ATPL as an ‘Integrated Route’ e.g. a full-time ‘on-campus’ course, or a more flexible ‘Modular’ route; doing each module of training over a longer period of time, maybe even at different training organisations.
Many training organisations advise that an integrated course is favoured by airlines over the modular course, due to the ease in assessing a comprehensive training record. This of course does not mean that options or a promising career are not available via a modular route; thousands of line flying pilots will have achieved their ATPL and a career via a modular route of training.