Careers in the air - Direct Entry Pilot Programme

Application process has now closed. Thank you for your interest.

Congratulations you've set your sights high and made one of the best decisions in your career! We offer a very competitive package which currently includes an incremental starting salary and excellent additional benefits.


Pilots start on a renumeration package of approximately:  
Airbus Type Rated €76,500*
Non-Airbus Type Rated €61,500*

*This includes average variable flight associated pay of approximately €18,000

Other benefits include:

  • Contributory Pension scheme (21% contribution from Aer Lingus plus 11% employee contribution)
  • Attractive annual leave 34 days including public holidays
  • Extensive concession Staff Travel for you and your loved ones offering opportunities to see the world after only 6 months service!

We are offering qualified Pilots a fantastic opportunity to join Aer Lingus for an exciting and rewarding career, flying our modern Airbus A320/321/330/LR Neo 321 aircraft from our bases in Ireland to over 80 destinations worldwide.

In 2019 we will be adding the new Airbus A321LR to our fleet, which will also provide you with the opportunity to fly across the Atlantic to our destinations in Canada and North America on the longest-range, single-aisle aircraft in the world. If you want to become part of a diverse team who are passionate about our guests, brand and our service and ultimately want to get the opportunity to apply for pilot in command roles, why wait? Apply today and make the best decision in your career to-date.

Check out our FAQs and videos to find out more.

Two new Transatlantic routes in 2019

Inaugural flight to Los Angeles, CA 2016

Seattle route launch 2018

Aer Lingus is Ireland's only 4 star Airline and part of IAG (International Airlines Group) one of the largest Airline groups in the world. We are headquartered in Dublin with a workforce of over 4500 staff including over 600 pilots from diverse cultural backgrounds.

We serve over 12 million guests ever year who rate us very highly on the Voice of The Guest online survey. It measures their satisfaction and confirms that our 4 star service meets and exceeds expectations based on an overall 90% satisfaction score.

We are offering you a very attractive package that includes a permanent role and a highly competitive incremental salary scale based on service. The example below will illustrate a pilot's starting salary.

Pilots start on a renumeration package of approximately:  
Airbus Type Rated €76,500*
Non-Airbus Type Rated €61,500*

*Includes an average of €18,000 P/A in variable allowances

And that's not all, when we refer to an attractive package we mean it. We also include the following:

  • Contributory Pension scheme (21% contribution from Aer Lingus plus 11% employee contribution)
  • Attractive annual leave 34 days including public holidays
  • Extensive concession Staff Travel for you and your loved ones offering opportunities to see the world after only 6 months service!
  • Internationally recognised and highly regarded training and operating standards
  • Reduced rates for Private Healthcare
  • Staff discounts with partner organisations
  • Flexible working options
  • Health and well being programmes
  • Support form our learning and development team
  • Sports & social facilities
  • Uniform

At the start of your career you begin with UK and European destinations and then in time if you wish you can progress to Transatlantic. Typically you fly between 800-900 hours per year. If you fly with Aer Lingus, you will fly an Airbus A320, A321, A330 or one of our new A321 LR Neo.

In Aer Lingus we pride ourselves on conducting a very fair and robust recruitment process. We put lots of time in to sourcing candidates that best fit our organisation and demonstrate the values we live and breathe.

Our expert recruitment team work as fast as they can but ultimately their aim is to offer each candidate every possible opportunity to achieve their dream position. With this in mind, pilot recruitment will take time. Initially candidates will be asked to complete a number of online assessments in the comfort of their own home, without the expense of flights and hotel accommodation in order to progress to the shortlist for the next stage of the process.

The recruitment process is now open. Apply using the button above.

  • You will receive an email from acknowledging that we have received your application. Candidates who progress through the initial screening will receive on-line assessments and will be given 7 days to complete. There are 3 online links in total and it should take you approximately 2-3 hours to complete. Please take the time to ensure you complete the assessments in a quiet location where you will not be disturbed. It is in your best interest to complete the assessments as soon as possible. After this time the links will no longer be available.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be invited to the group assessment stage which will be held in Dublin week commencing Monday 25th February 2019.
  • We have a number of simulator sessions available during the week you are called to the assessment centre. Not all candidates will be invited to the simulator assessments.
  • Please note at the assessment centre you will be required to provide copies of your Flight School Report if you are low in hours (Less than 500 hours) or a copy of your last LPC (Line Proficiency Check) if you have more then 500 hours rated and have commercial experience.
  • Candidates may also be asked to retake the online assessments during their time at the assessment centre.
  • Once we receive the results of all your assessments including your simulator we review all the data and a decision is made.
  • At each stage of the process candidates will be advised if they are being progressed or not. We will not be in a position to provide individual feedback.

It is very difficult to define a typical day for a pilot because usually each one is different especially considering the challenges they have to deal with regarding weather, slots, delays and medical emergencies. However, all flying days will involve the pilot and crew going through certain steps, including:

  • Check-in
  • Getting all the data required for the routes for that day:
    • Check the flight plans
    • Check the expected weather
    • Calculate the fuel and performance required for the flight
  • Preparing the aircraft for flight
    • Conducting a thorough safety check
    • Preparing on-board computers for the route
    • Communicating and liaising with cabin crew, engineering, operations, air traffic control
  • Flying the aircraft
    • Monitoring the systems
    • Liaising with all the Air Traffic Control stations on route
    • Communicating with passengers
  • Preparing for the next journey
    • Pilots prepare to 'turn around' the airplane
    • A pilot on the European network may fly 4 or 5 flights a day, 5 days a week.

All new Aer Lingus pilots are assigned to one of the airline's two bases, Dublin or Cork. From here you will be assigned a base Captain who will support and monitor your performance on a regular basis. You can expect to fly in the right hand seat of an aircraft form the Airbus family A319, A320 and A321 as a First Officer. You will spend a number of years gaining valuable experience on the Aer Lingus European network. The career progression is clearly defined through the Command Development Process, which ultimately leads to promotion to Captain, for those who are successful.

Yes. Ongoing training is a huge part in the life of Aer Lingus pilots we believe that every day is a school day and an opportunity to learn new things.

In the beginning, with a frozen ATPL, and an invitation to join Aer Lingus, a new pilot can expect to start Type Rating and Safety and Emergency Procedures training. This is usually delivered at Dublin Airport. The Type Rating includes ground school tuition and exams, and a course in the A320 simulator. When all the elements are successfully completed, the pilot is eligible to begin online flight training in the right hand seat of the actual aircraft. The first number of sectors undertaken will be with a Training Captain and when fully trained and successfully checked-out, the pilot is qualified.

The answer is simple we promote from within our highly trained and experienced pilot pool. We pay a lot of attention to your career progression. We want you to grow, as we have done over the past 75 years. So you will find we have a wide range of training and development opportunities to help you develop your skills and experience with us.

We are looking for ambitious first officers who ultimately want to become captains and want to challenge themselves to reach their full potential. The time to command is reducing rapidly with the introduction of new aircraft. There are also lots of opportunities for pilots to get involved in project work, training or recruitment.

Aer Lingus pilots also have the opportunity, after a number of years, to operate on our long haul network, initially flying as a First Officer on the Airbus A330 and with an experienced captain. Of course safety and ongoing training are priorities for the airline, so along the way, pilots can expect many assessments, in addition to the 6 monthly simulator checks and annual on-line checks which are required to maintain a valid and current license.

There are opportunities for pilots to contribute to Aer Lingus other than through their work in the cockpit. There may be management roles available within the Flight Operations department. Line pilots can assist on many Flight Operation Projects which arise. Some pilots also deliver training while continuing to carry out flying duties. The crew training delivered in Aer Lingus is varied and may include:

  • Recurrent simulator sessions
  • Converting new pilots to aircraft type
  • Conducting statutory checks
  • Presenting ground school topics
  • Assisting the Chief Instructors and Manager of Training and Standards as required

Yes. Aer Lingus recruits pilots form a number of different training backgrounds both integrated and modular. Some have just completed training with less than 200 hours or others with type ratings and thousands of hours. We find that this mix of pilots works very well for us. Even if you have just got your ATPL, you probably know you will still need a Type Rating for the specific aircraft that you will fly for an airline. As Aer Lingus is now recruiting First Officers, you can apply for the position with your ATPL and if you are successful, the Type Rating and training will be supplied by Aer Lingus.

Two new Transatlantic routes in 2019

Inaugural flight to Los Angeles, CA 2016

Seattle route launch 2018

Essential criteria for application

  • A valid EASA issued ATPL (or frozen ATPL)
  • A current ME/IR
  • MCC qualification or exemption
  • EASA Class 1 Medical certificate
  • Provide 2 verifiable references
  • Valid English Language Proficiency level 4 or higher
  • Permanently eligible to live and work in the EU with an unrestricted worldwide passport.
  • Able to pass a strict airport security vetting procedure
  • Possession and demonstration of the key competencies outlined below

Key Competencies include

  • Highly motivated and keen to take responsibility and accountability
  • Strong leadership potential with well developed teamwork skills
  • Excellent communication skills - fluent in English, spoken and written
  • Proven Interpersonal skills that fit with the Aer Lingus value
  • A broad awareness of our customers' expectations
  • Flexible and adaptable with an enthusiastic and positive attitude to change
  • An understanding of a pilot's influence on commercial priorities
  • A Safety focus consistent with our 'Just Culture' model

Desirable criteria

  • Applicants who hold a current Airbus type-rating (A320 / A330 / A340 / A350 / A380)
  • Multi-crew commercial experience or 500 hours

Minimum Standards

There are some minimum standards that everyone needs to pass to secure a job as a Pilot with us:

  • You must have the right to live and work in the location you wish to work without sponsorship from Aer Lingus. We will ask you for proof of your eligibility to work if you are selected for an interview.
  • Pilots will need to hold a valid passport that allows unrestricted travel worldwide travel
  • You will need to pass our security clearance procedure.
  • You must be in procession of an EASA Class 1 Medical certificate and ATPL

Your application form and Curriculum Vitae

Please take the time to fill them in correctly. Remember this is your formal introduction to Aer Lingus. Always remember to showcase your strengths and abilities. Please ensure that your work experience and contact details are up to date.

We do not accept applications by email, post or telephone unless you have special requirements.

Don't forget to fill in all the screens, and attach an up-to-date CV with your current contact details. You will receive an automatic acknowledgement when we receive your application.

The Recruitment Process

Tests and assessments

We use a number of tests and assessments we believe they can help us predict your suitability for the job you are applying for. From spelling tests to flight simulators, these may be available on-line for you to do at home, or may require you to come to us. If you do need to do any tests or assessments we will give you plenty of information about how to approach them.

Assessment Centres

If you are selected, we will invite you to an assessment centre in Dublin. During the day there will be a number of exercises including group, panel discussions and interviews. You will be fully briefed about the requirements. This is your opportunity to tell us about your skills, experience and motivation, and give us examples of how you have demonstrated these aspects of yourself in the past. It's also a great opportunity to find out more about life with Aer Lingus and the job you are applying for. Following this you will be advised if you are being progressed to the simulator assessment in the following days.

Special Requirements

If you require any special assistance with your application, please contact us at and let us know how we can help.

Security Clearance Procedure, References and Medical Checks

There are some important things that you'll need to know if you are considering a career with us. Aer Lingus operates in security controlled environments. This includes our bases in Dublin and Cork Airports. All Aer Lingus employees must obtain Airport Access Permits for the airport they are based in. In order to obtain the Access Permit there are a number of things that you must do.

Your safety and the safety of our passengers is our responsibility. As part of your recruitment process we will check the following:

  • Five year background check: You will need to be able to recall where you have been working, studying and living during that time. We will then confirm the details provided by you through our People Check system for the last five years.
  • Ability to provide Evidence of Criminal Reference Checks: you will be responsible for providing police certs for any country you have lived in for six months or more after the age 18 (excluding Ireland as we will apply for Irish vetting on your behalf) if applicable, see note below, certs must be dated within the last 6 months)
  • Garda Vetting Form and proof of address: (must be dated within the last six months)
  • Verbal References: We will check your application with the 2 verbal references you supply on application to include recent employers and education establishments.
  • Qualifications and licenses: We will check any qualifications or licenses that we believe are important for the job you are applying for.
  • Medical: You will be required to complete a medical questionnaire, and attend a medical at a local doctor's practice (at our expense). This will require you declaring sensitive medical information about yourself.

If you are unable to pass our security checks, we will withdraw your offer of employment.

Before your Assessment Centre or Interview

If you are called to an assessment centre with Aer Lingus you must start gathering the following information for the Aer Lingus Recruitment Team:

  • Information to provide a five year background check
  • Ability to provide Evidence of Criminal Reference Checks
  • Garda Vetting Form and proof of address

The checking system is on-line and the Aer Lingus recruitment team will send an email with a consent form, login and password for a link to our background checking system.

Once you receive an invitation to the assessment centre in Dublin we will advise you on the documents you are required to bring.

This will be sent from Please ensure this mail will not end up in your junk or spam folder.

Note: Garda vetting forms are issued by the Garda Síochana and are not available online.

Keeping You Informed

We will advise you on the status of your application as you progress through the recruitment stages. If we need you to do anything we will contact you by email please keep an eye on your junk folder as in the past some mails have been found there. Also if the message is urgent we will contact you by phone, so keep checking the email address that you provided for us on your application form. You can contact us at if you need any additional help along the way.

We keep your details on file for 12 months, so even if you are not successful for the vacancy applied for, we may contact you if a similar or different vacancy arises that we think you may be suited to.

Two new Transatlantic routes in 2019

Inaugural flight to Los Angeles, CA 2016

Seattle route launch 2018

"Aer Lingus seeks to promote a work environment that actively welcomes and supports Diversity and Inclusion, where all employees feel that they are treated fairly and with respect. We continuously strive to reflect the rich diversity of the society we live in and the guests we serve."

Stephen Kavanagh

As Ireland's only four-star airline, we know that warmth and care are inherent in how we treat our guests. With over 4,500 employees and 12 million guests travelling with us each year, Aer Lingus continues to go from strength to strength.

We seek to reflect the diversity of our guests and ensure that all our employees and guests feel part of the Aer Lingus family.

At Aer Lingus, we promote Diversity & Inclusion under 5 key streams:

Aer Lingus is an equal opportunities employer and we endeavour to ensure gender balance on our interview panels. We continuously update our interviewer training programme so that our interviewers have the highest levels of skills, enabling them to recruit the best talent, irrespective of difference. Applicants with disabilities are accommodated through our selection processes. We are seeking to broaden our scope by working with diverse third party agencies to ensure that we receive applications from all sections of our community.

Our ongoing commitment to employee development is a key feature of our culture and one of which we are immensely proud. We have integrated Diversity & Inclusion into our leadership and professional development programmes and continue to work with the business to address any development needs identified.

We offer the Commanders Business Leadership Development Programme to Captains. This is a bespoke programme, designed to provide our Commanders with the opportunity to explore personal development themes with a focus on leadership and give a broader appreciation of the overall business.

We launched our Diversity and Inclusion policy last year which has been shared with all our employees. This forms the backbone of our commitment to diversity, where we seek to include all.

We have recently signed the Diversity Charter Ireland. By doing so, we are publicly committing to the broader understanding of Inclusion and all that it represents. This includes attracting and retaining the best talent, complying with Equality legislation and ensuring that all employees feel able to bring their complete selves to work.

We continue to review and update our internal policies to ensure that they are reflective of our changing and increasingly diverse workforce and broader society.

Women now make up 48 percent of all employees at Aer Lingus and 33 percent of all leadership roles. This is gradually moving in the right direction, up from 17% since 2012 but we know that we still have more to do. We are very proud to have over 10% female pilots in Aer Lingus currently one of the largest numbers in the industry. We continue to monitor and support the progression of women and ensure salary parity at all levels.

As part of our commitment to Women in Leadership and development of our talent pipeline, we offer coaching and mentoring to our future leaders in addition to support in ongoing career progression across job grades and business areas.

Have a read of the Irish Independent article featuring Aer Lingus pilot Anne Kirwan. 'Gender balance in piloting world is finally showing signs of improving...'

Supporting our disabled Guests and those with reduced mobility

We recognise that air travel can be a stressful experience for our less-able guests and their travel companions or family. We have begun to provide additional support in a number of ways:

Disability Awareness training for our front-line colleagues: We have recently rolled out training for our employees working at the airport and our flying crew, so that they are best able to assist our less-able guests who may require a little extra support.

Guides for individuals with autism or cognitive disabilities: We have launched visual guides on to support our guests with Autism or Cognitive disabilities. These guides follow each stage of a typical guest journey from pre-flight departure through the flight itself and then on to the arrivals process at their destination.

Two new Transatlantic routes in 2019

Inaugural flight to Los Angeles, CA 2016

Seattle route launch 2018