Federal training subsidies (VFAL103)
The new law, which makes it possible for all candidates to obtain subsidies for training to become a professional pilot, has been in effect since 1.1.2019. The new rule has brought significant movement into the market. Candidates that have shied away from a training for cost reasons in the past are now motivated to pursue their goal to become a professional pilot.
In the early part of 2019, the number of new applicants for a pilot training have stagnated, as many have waited for their approval of the subsidies to come through from FOCA. However, as of May the situation has changed significantly, as many applications have been approved, and the candidates were able to begin with their training.
Due to the implementation of the new law there have been over 250 applications between January and mid of September, of which ca. 140 were for professional pilot training. Over 70 of those applications were submitted by Horizon candidates. The expectations were exceeded by more than double.
Generally, all Swiss citizens and holders of B- or C-Residency Permits are able to submit applications to qualify for subsidies of up to 50% of the training cost. The maximum amount to be paid out is limited to CHF 60’000. Candidates with an unrestricted SPHAIR Qualification receive priority in the approval process.
Payment of the subsidies will generally be made upon receipt of a work contract with a Swiss operator. The candidate must commit him-/herself to work for at least three years for a Swiss operator in order to receive the full allocation of the subsidies. If the candidate has a binding letter of intent from a Swiss operator, he/she can receive the payment of the subsidies during the term of the training. As part of their “Airline Pilot Cadet Programme”, Helvetic Airways offers such an LOI to its cadets in conjunction with the training at Horizon Swiss Flight Academy.
All the processes for application, prerequisites, accounting and payment have been defined in a guideline, however have not been proven to be suitable for daily business. A meeting has taken place between Horizon and FOCA in September with regard to the processes and their specific implementation resulting in a closer cooperation with FOCA. Thereby specific information may be procured directly by FOCA from Horizon with regard to the applications, and invoicing may be delivered directly from Horizon to FOCA in a specific format regarding services provided for candidates. This method will accelerate the application and approval process as well as the invoicing and payment of subsidies to the candidates.
Since the beginning of 2019 Horizon Swiss Flight Academy has singed 36 new candidates for the training to the “frozen ATPL” license.