This is the final step up in your training as a pilot and the most advanced licence attainable. Because of the vast number of hours required to qualify as an Airline Transport Pilot most pilots will build the hours and gain the experience necessary while working as a pilot for a commercial operation.

The applicant must have logged a minimum of 1500 hours of flight time of which:

  • 500 hours must be pilot-in-command under supervision; or
  • 250 hours must be pilot-in-command, of which up to 150 hours may be pilot-in-command under supervision; and
  • 200 hours must be cross-country flight time, of which 100 hours may be as co-pilot or pilot-in-command under supervision;
  • 75 hours must be instrument time, of which not more than 30 hours may be acquired in a FSTD (Flight Simulation Training Device) which has been approved for this purpose; and
  • 100 hours must be night flight time as pilot-in-command or as co-pilot.
Please refer to SA-CATS-FCL 61 regarding the logging and crediting of flight time to ensure you meet the abovementioned requirements. The candidate will be required to pass a number of theoretical knowledge examinations. Sittings for these exams are held at the Civil Aviation Authority and bookings are to be made directly through the SACAA.

Please note that on completion of your Commercial Pilot License you may complete the ATPL examinations and be the holder of a “Frozen” ATPL. What this means is that the completed examinations will remain valid provided the candidate maintains and renews there instrument rating until such time as they can complete the ATPL skills test, this does not mean that the holder of a “Frozen” ATPL may exercise any privileges associated with the airline transport licence. Subsequent to an instrument rating renewal the exams are valid for five years allowing time for the candidate to build the hours necessary for this licence.

Before qualifying to complete the ATPL skills test the candidate must comply with the following:

  1. Be not less than 21 years of age.
  2. Hold a valid class 1 aviation medical certificate issued in terms of Part 67.
  3. Meet the hour requirements as laid out in SA-CATS-FCL 61.
  4. Produce evidence of having held within the past 60 months a valid commercial pilot licence with Instrument rating; or in the case of an integrated course a valid student pilot licence.
  5. Have within the past 60 months completed a multi-crew cooperation course.
  6. Completed and passed all theoretical SACAA ATPL examinations.
  7. Have successfully completed training as prescribed in SA-CATS-FCL-61 with an approved Aviation Training Organisation and received the necessary letter of recommendation to complete the skills test.

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