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U.S. Pilot Training Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Aircraft Type (Airplane, Helicopter, and Others), By License & Certification (Student Pilot License, Commercial Pilot License, Private Pilot License, Airline Transport Pilot License, Flight Instructor, Sport Pilot License, Glider Pilot License, Instrument Rating, Remote Pilots, and Airmen Medical Certification (Class I, Class II, and Class III), By Training Mode (Flight Training, Simulator Training, Ground Training, and Recurrent Training), and Country Forecast, 2023-2030

Region : United States | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI108918



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The U.S. pilot training market size was valued at USD 1.57 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow from USD 1.81 billion in 2023 to USD 4.93 billion in 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 15.4% in the forecast period.


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The U.S. is expected to witness high growth due to rising demand for pilots following mass retirement of U.S. pilots. The number of pilots reaching the age of retirement is growing day by day and is substantially more than the number of pilots being produced, therefore creating a supply gap. Additionally, the growing aerospace industry and emerging airlines and service providers in the country are contributing to the existing and expanding demand gap. Moreover, the growing passenger traffic and increased use of emerging cost-saving technologies such as simulators are some of the factors that will contribute to the market’s growth in the forecast period.


COVID-19 Pandemic Caused Aerospace Demand to Plummet with a Historic Downfall

The U.S. pilot training market witnessed a decline due to travel restrictions, reduced passenger air traffic caused reduced demand for pilot which in turn effects the revenue of flight training schools and institutions. For instance, in June 2022, according to the report by Regional Airline Association, a U.S-based business association that represents 17 North American regional airlines, stated that the growing pilot shortage threatens small community air service collapse. The report also discussed that COVID-19 slowdown the training and dramatically slowed issuance of new certificates. As air travel resumed progressively over the years following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry will still experience a challenge to fill cockpits. According to CAE, pilots over 50 years of age represent 38% of the total civil aviation industry pilot count and around 3.8% of commercial pilots are expected to retire or leave the profession every year over the next 10 years. According to the data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), there were 53 companies anticipated to face such fate in 2020, and this number decreased to 33 in 2021. Airlines and operators are pursuing recovery and taking short-term measures to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has resulted in a decrease in the number of active pilots in 2020. This however is temporary as active fleets return to service through 2022 and 2023.

U.S. Pilot Training Market Trends

Increasing Use of AR & VR in Training Services is a Prominent Market Trend

Virtual Reality (VR) is a concept that allows individuals to completely immerse themselves into a computer-generated environment, such as experiencing the flight deck of an aircraft. This immersion is facilitated by visuals and audio representation through a head-mounted display similar to a headset. Users can interact with this environment using hand gestures, physical buttons, or levers.

Numerous companies worldwide have recognized the benefits of Virtual Reality (VR) in the aviation training sector, including reduced training costs, faster training, and improved comprehension and retention among employees. VR has proven to be an effective learning model when compared to traditional classroom and eLearning methods. In 2022, according to Price Waterhouse Cooper, VR learners were four times faster at mastering content than classroom learners, showcasing a 275% increase in confidence in applying skills after learning. Additionally, VR learners were found to be more emotionally connected and focused compared to their counterparts in traditional classroom and eLearning settings, thereby contributing to the growth of the U.S. training market share globally.

  • For instance, in July 2022, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) incorporated VR into its private training program, resulting in a 30% reduction in training time. The utilization of VR allows students to practice with less or no anxiety, enhancing confidence, and reducing distractions typically encountered during the initial stages of flight training.

U.S. Pilot Training Market Growth Factors

Increasing Post-pandemic Travel and New Aircraft Deliveries to Create a Significant Demand of Pilots

In recent years, the aviation industry has witnessed a significant increase in the demand and growth in air travel. With over 100,000 commercial flights operating worldwide every day, the commercial aviation sector is experiencing a notable growth in air travel and passenger traffic.

  • For instance, according to ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization), it is estimated that air transport demand will rise by an average of 4.3% annually over the next 20 years. The total demand for air travel in April 2022 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) witnessed an upward trend, increasing by 78.7% compared to April 2021.

To cater to this increasing demand and air traffic, airline operators are procuring new aircrafts and pacing bulk orders to expand their fleet. The growing fleet size will consequently require trained pilots, creating new opportunities for training institutes to provide well-trained, highly qualified, and experienced pilots. Furthermore, several major airlines are focused on increasing their fleets owing to the heightened demand. For instance, in December 2022, United Airlines unveiled the largest wide-body aircraft order from a U.S. airline in commercial aviation history- ordering 100 Boeing 787 Dreamliners with the option to purchase an additional 100, thereby propelling the U.S. pilot training market growth.


High Initial Certification Cost for Pilot Training May Hamper Market growth

The rapid advancements in aircraft technology have necessitated fully equipped aircraft training infrastructure, including high-tech full flight simulators and systems essential for effective training. However, the cost of these simulators and equipment is exceptionally high, leading to a soaring training expense.

For instance, FAA Qualified Full Flight Simulators (full motion) are priced in the range of USD 10,000,000 to USD 50,000,000. Due to these exorbitant costs, companies providing training courses are compelled to set substantial prices for their training programs. This creates a significant barrier for aspiring pilots and cadets, as they face challenges of high initial certification costs for pilot training. Consequently, the high cost of pilot training is anticipated to impede market growth.  

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U.S. Pilot Training Market Segmentation Analysis

By Aircraft Type Analysis

Airplane Segment Dominated as Surging Aircraft Deliveries Fuel Market Growth

Based on aircraft type, the market is divided into airplane, helicopter, and others.

The airplane segment dominated the market in 2022 and is predicted to continue growing with the highest CAGR in the forecast period. This growth can be attributed to the increasing number of aircraft deliveries in the region. Additionally, the rise in passenger traffic has led to an increase in the demand for airplanes.  As the number of passengers increases, there is a higher demand for aircraft, subsequently driving the need for skilled pilots.

  • For instance, in March 2023, Piper Aircraft, a U.S. based general aviation aircraft manufacturer, signed a deal to deliver new trainer-class aircrafts to Blue Line Aviation, a pilot training institute headquartered in North Carolina. The agreement entails providing the flight school with 55 trainer aircraft with the potential for additional 60 trainers

The helicopter segment is predicted to grow at a high CAGR owing to increasing military applications of the aircraft type.

By License & Certification Analysis

Airline Transport Pilot License Segment Eyes Highest CAGR as Mass Pilot Retirements Fuel Demand

By license & certification, the market is segmented into student pilot license, commercial pilot license, private pilot license, airline transport pilot license, flight instructor, sport pilot license, glider pilot license, instrument rating, remote pilots, and airmen medical certification.

The Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) segment is predicted to grow at the highest CAGR due to the growing demand for pilots, following the mass retirement of existing pilots. This segment also accounted for a high market share in 2022. To meet the rising demand for ATPL, many airlines have initiated their own pilot training institutes, to train budding pilots.

  • For instance, in March 2023, Delta Airlines unveiled its Propulsion Pilot Career Path program and established a pilot academy dedicated to training the airline's next generation of pilots. Delta Propel Flight Academy, run in partnership with training provider Skyborne Aviation Academy, opened its doors to the first class of students in June 2023.

The commercial pilot license segment accounted for the largest market share in 2022. The market for commercial pilot license is expected to boost in the forecast period owing to a rise in the demand for commercial pilots.

By Training Mode Analysis

Flight Training Segment Led the Market in 2022 as Practical Training Gained Prominence

The market by training mode is divided into flight training, simulator training, ground training, and recurrent training.

The flight training segment accounted for the largest market share in 2022 and is expected to grow at a significant CAGR in the forecast period. The growth is attributed to the increasing importance of practical flight training methods in the overall pilot training process.

The simulator training segment is predicted to grow at a significant CAGR due to the growing adaptation of simulator training in this market. Prominent market players in this market have started incorporating simulator training as a regular training method in pilot training. To facilitate this, flight schools have started procuring and producing various simulators.

  • For instance in April 2023, Embraer and CAE responded to the growing demand for private jet training in the U.S. by announcing the launch of the new Phenom 300E (FFS) Full Flight Simulator in Las Vegas, Nevada. The full flight simulator will be operated by Embraer-CAE Training Services (ECTS), a joint venture between Embraer and CAE.

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List of Key U.S. Pilot Training Market Companies

Market Players such as CAE Phoenix and Purdue University are Shaping the Competitive Landscape

In terms of the competitive landscape, ATP Flight School is a key player in the U.S. market due to their tie ups with major airlines and a wide fleet. The market comprises of numerous flight schools, training centers, and various state owned universities that provide pilot training in the country. The U.S. pilot training market share is consolidated with several key players, some of which are international conglomerates providing flight training in locations outside the country as well. CAE Phoenix and Purdue University are other prominent players in the market.



  • August 2023 - Purdue Global, a U.S. based University, partnered with LIFT Academy, a U.S. based pilot training school. The partnership aimed to provide accessible education opportunities for aviation professionals, especially working adults.

  • June 2023 - Oklahoma State University (OSU) partnered with Southwest Airlines to enable students to become qualified pilots. OSU participates in Southwest's Destination 225 program, which provides multiple pathways for students interested in aviation.

  • March 2022 - Delta Airlines Inc. unveiled the launch of a flight academy to train more pilots and address the struggles of pilot shortage in the regional market. The airlines are expected to operate in partnership with training provider Skyborne Airline.


An Infographic Representation of U.S. Pilot Training Market

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The market research report gives quantitative and qualitative insights into the market, offering a detailed analysis of the growth rate and size of the U.S. for all possible segments. In addition to the market forecasts, the research report presents a comprehensive analysis of market dynamics and the competitive landscape. Key insights in the report encompass an overview of the number of airports covered, an overview of price analysis for various types of services, an overview of regulatory scenarios in key countries, and profiles of companies. Additionally, it offers details on new product launches, pipeline analysis, key industry developments including acquisitions, partnerships, mergers, and an assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the market.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period


Growth Rate

CAGR of 15.4% from 2023 to 2030


Value (USD Billion)


By Aircraft Type

  • Airplane

  • Helicopter

  • Others

By License & Certification

  • Student Pilot License

  • Commercial Pilot License

  • Private Pilot License

  • Airline Transport Pilot License

  • Flight Instructor

  • Sport Pilot License

  • Glider Pilot License

  • Instrument Rating

  • Remote Pilots

  • Airmen Medical Certification

    • Class I

    • Class II

    • Class III

ByTraining Mode

  • Flight Training

  • Simulator Training

  • Ground Training

  • Recurrent Training

By Country/ Sub-Region

  • Alaskan Region (By License & Certification)

  • Central Region (By License & Certification)

  • Eastern Region (By License & Certification)

  • Great Lakes Region (By License & Certification)

  • Northwest Mountain Region (By License & Certification)

  • Southern Region (By License & Certification)

  • Southwest Region (By License & Certification)

  • Western-Pacific Region (By  License & Certification)

Frequently Asked Questions

The market is predicted to exhibit steady growth from 2023-2030, growing at a CAGR of 15.4%.

Increasing post-pandemic travel and new aircraft deliveries are expected to create an significant demand of pilots driving market growth.

ATP Flight School, CAE Phoenix, and Purdue University are the major market players in U.S.

Eastern Region dominated the market in 2022.

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