5 Options you can take up after becoming a Commercial Pilot?

Captain Puneet Baldawa
6 min readSep 11, 2021


“I will be investing around 60 lakhs for my commercial pilot license. What options do I have after attaining CPL? How can I get my money back? Where can I apply after getting the license?” “If I am putting my money, the first thing I should think is, how will I get the money back and how soon.” If you have these questions, then do not worry, you are not the only one to ponder upon these questions. These are just a few questions amongst the ones you are having right now in your mind. By the end of this blog, you will know 5 things where you can apply or use your license for, to get a job as a Commercial Pilot. In this blog, we have assumed that you already have a CPL (Commercial Pilot License).

  1. Airline Job
Captain and First Officer clicking a picture before the flight.

The first thing that comes to any aspiring pilot’s mind after watching an aircraft fly across is getting into some airline. Everyone has a dream to fly for Etihad, Emirates, American Airlines, Singapore Airlines, etc. You can get a job in your own country or in some foreign country. The process is neither different nor challenging.

You will basically be needing a CPL of that country and be eligible for the vacancy in terms of endorsement of the aircraft and experience in hours. Airlines come up with vacancies for experienced pilots with a minimum of 500–1000 hours on commercial jets or a vacancy for freshers who are just out from their flight training and have zero experience. In addition, there could be vacancies for type-rated pilots or non-type rated pilots. (Note: A Type Rated pilot can apply for Non-Type Rated vacancy but not vice versa.) There are various rounds in the selection process to test you on all parameters and, if satisfied, they will induct you into their airline.


· Get to fly to numerous countries.

· Free tickets for you and for your family.

· Get to interact with different nationalities of the world.


· There is no fixed schedule.

· The risk factor (lives of passengers) is very high.

· Live in hotels for a considerable number of nights.

2. Chartered Companies

Cabin of a Chartered aircraft.

Many people own an aircraft to save their time traveling, or maybe they had always dreamt of buying one. But, unfortunately, the majority of these people do not know how to fly their aircraft. So, they keep searching for pilots who can fly their aircraft; you could be one of the lucky pilots. You could be a pilot for a private owner’s aircraft or could be a pilot for a chartered company.

The requirement is very basic i.e., you should have the aircraft endorsed on license. Usually, these aircraft are 20–30 seaters like the C90, Challenger series, Learjet etc. It’s usually chosen by people who are not very eager to travel to various places and want to be at home after every flight, but you might not get airline experience.


· Higher Pay-scale.

· Lesser number of flights

· Good possibility to return back home after your flight.


· Aircraft are different from the airline ones, so, you will need to train yourself on those aircraft.

· Lesser job opportunities.

· Higher experience is required (mostly).

3. Armed Forces

Women in different wings of Armed Forces.

If you see a fighter jet during childhood or on any day of your life, don’t you get the feeling to fly those fighter jets? Isn’t it exciting enough to get an opportunity to at least sit in those aircraft and cruise through at double the speed of sound? I would be amazed after this flight. But, when you plan to choose it as your career, there are a lot of things that you need to be aware of and work on.

There are different entry points and have their own induction process. There are also different wings in which you can join Armed forces like, Airforce, Navy and, Coast Guard. The training process for every wing is different and very rigorous. One mistake and cause a loss in millions, cause loss of highly equipped aircraft. So, enter the armed forces if you are absolutely determined to become a pilot in the Armed forces.


· Experience of flying fighter jets.

· Added advantage when you enter civil aviation.

· You can join a higher position in an airline.


· No leisure flying.

· Under intense stress all the time.

· Risk of life.

4. Instructor

Flight instructor teaching how to check fuel.

The post that you can opt for right after attaining a CPL is a job as an instructor, be it Flight Instructor or Ground Instructor. This is the most common path taken by new CPL holders for the period till they get a job in their desired department i.e., Airline, chartered or any of the above. Cadets in countries like the US and Canada usually complete their flight training and then plan to become an Instructor in the same/different flying club. Once you start teaching, you will have a better understanding of the subject/aircraft.

To become a flight instructor, you must undergo 20 extra hours of flying after attaining CPL, and clear its DGCA paper and viva. Once you clear those, you are eligible to be an Assistant Flight Instructor (AFI). To become a ground instructor, you need a profound knowledge of all the subjects you plan to teach. After that, you can either join any academy you are aware of or start on your own.

I have started my own Academy “Streamline Aviation Academy”, where I prepare aspiring pilots and cabin crew to take off their career in Aviation in a very streamlined process. You can contact me for any sort of inquiry regarding DGCA pilot ground classes or for Cabin Courses. If you want to join my academy as an instructor, connect with me on LinkedIn(hyperlink personal account) or on call (9920658597).


· You refine your understanding of the topic.

· You are in touch with Aviation and also with upcoming students.

· As a flight instructor, you will be gaining flight hours.

Cons: (these are not precisely the cons, but are cautionary things. There are no cons to become an instructor)

· You will need to spend extra money to complete the training of an AFI.

· Clearing exams for AFI is difficult.

· You have to stay in the flying club’s hostel.

5. Cargo Pilot

Cabin of a Cargo flight.

Cargo flights are the ones that transports goods to place B via aircraft. There are particular companies like DHL, FedEx, UPS etc., who operate cargo flights only. Whereas, there are normal airlines that operate passenger and cargo flights like Indigo, SpiceXpress, Emirates, Etihad, Air India, etc.

The workload of being a cargo pilot is not so high. They usually fly bigger aircraft like Boeing 757/747, A380, Antonov or Dreamlifter. There are also regional airlines that utilize Boeing 737 or A320 for their cargo flights. All the cargo is strapped down in the fuselage. There is no need for any cabin crew services or any continuous PA system.

The process of becoming a cargo is the same as becoming an Airline pilot; you just need to be endorsed with the required aircraft.


· Pay-scale is good.

· You come back to your base on the same day i.e., no layovers.

· You do not have passengers to deal with.


· Flight discounts are very slim.

· Selection process is rigorous.

· You are more likely to fly at night than day.

If you had one wish which will surely get approved, which pilot would you choose to become? Let me know in the comments section. Please do share it among your friends to help me clear confusion of a bigger crowd. Check other blogs that I have written of various topic and subscribe me if you liked my blog.



Captain Puneet Baldawa

I am an A320 Rated Commercial Pilot flying with IndiGo. I have finished my flight training from India. I am a Cofounder of Streamline Aviation Academy.