A319 taking off in Vienna-Schwechat (LOWW) (c) D.Tscholl

The Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) is the highest European pilot license. With this license, all aircraft may be flown professionally and commercially (i.e. as a pilot for payment) as captain or pilot in command (pilot in command). This license is required in any case if large aircraft (usually aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of more than 5,700 kg or more than 9 passenger seats as captain or pilot in command (pilot in command). In practice, these are all known larger business jets or commercial aircraft from Boeing, Airbus, Embraer. These aircraft may hold a commercial pilot's license (CPL ) only fly as first officer (“co-pilot”).

Theoretical ATPL training and the "Frozen ATPL"

An internationally valid PPL is the only requirement for starting ATPL training. This means that training is also possible with a non-European (non-EASA license). The theoretical ATPL training can be started immediately after the completion of the PPL training and also includes the entire theoretical training for the CPL and IFR training. For you, this means that separate CPL and IFR theory training is not necessary and in many cases also not useful.

 ATPL training course overview

The theoretical ATPL training is exclusively a theoretical training. This means that no flight training is integrated into this training alone. Normally, flight training is for CPL, IFR possibly also MEP parallel to the theoretical ATPL training, whereby individual time, private and financial preferences can be planned and taken into account. Since the airline pilot license (ATPL) is only issued by the aviation authority Austrocontrol when flight experience of at least 500 h on aircraft with a multi-person flight crew (usually consisting of 2 pilots) is issued, after the end of training until these flight hours have been achieved, one speaks of a so-called "Frozen-ATPL" or a CPL with theoretical ATPL exam.

Details of the ideal typical course of a modular training are summarized in the figure above. The differences between modular and integrated training will be discussed in the next section. We would be happy to advise you if you have any further questions.

Digression: Integrated vs. modular ATPL training

Since there are always questions about the difference between modular and integrated training, here is a brief summary based on our experience in recent years:

In the case of integrated training for ATPL, the entire training of PPL, IFR and CPL, possibly also MEP, must be carried out in the same flight school. Integrated training courses are usually offered within 12 to 18 months, with an upfront payment or at least a large part of the training almost always having to be paid for in advance. As experience shows, in individual cases this leads to a high financial risk or at least a great financial burden. Integrated training includes fewer hours of flight training (approx. 170 h), with a substantial proportion of this training having to be completed on simulators.

On the other hand, there is the modular training for ATPL, in which all individual training steps are self-contained, i.e. a complete, independently valid license is acquired at the end of each training section (PPL, CPL, IFR, possibly MEP and theoretical ATPL exam). Details of the course can be seen in the figure above. In practice, this means that the modular training can be designed completely according to the student's individual preferences as well as the time and financial possibilities. From our experience, a modular ATPL training course can be completed without any problems within 12 – 18 months – assuming you are willing to learn. The costs of the modular training are usually lower and are invoiced by us once a month in arrears, depending on the individual training progress. As a result, the costs of the entire training are distributed relatively evenly over the training period. In addition, it is possible to pause or sit out between the individual training blocks at any time without risk or financial disadvantage. Since you acquire a full license at the end of each training section, you also have no risk of being tied to a single flight school throughout the entire training. The number of flight training hours is approx. 235h and is therefore slightly higher than with the integrated training variant, which leads to a correspondingly higher level of flight experience.

Conclusion: From our experience, integrated training no longer offers any advantages over modular training. In view of our experiences with other providers of integrated training, we now only recommend the modular training to our students.

The theoretical ATPL training consists exclusively of the theoretical training. Flight training can - as described above - be completed parallel to and accompanying the training.

Theory training

Our theoretical training prepares you comprehensively for the computer-aided theoretical examination at the Austrian aviation authority Austrocontrol. In the course of the theoretical training, you will learn everything you need for the theoretical test and, above all, for later commercial flight practice. Only training documents in English are used, since the theory test at the Austrian aviation authority Austrocontrol must also be taken in English.


 Modern navigation display (ND)

For theoretical training, we use a combination of face-to-face training in our modern and conveniently located seminar hotel (InterCity Seminarhotel, 1070 Vienna, Mariahilfer Strasse 122 or, if necessary, at other training locations) and computer-aided self-study accompanied by our teachers. Of course, there is also the possibility of individual theoretical training.

The curriculum includes:

  • Air Law,
  • Aircraft General Knowledge – airframe and systems, electrics, powerplant, emergency equipment,
  • Aircraft General Knowledge – instrumentation
  • Mass and Balance,
  • Performance,
  • Flight Planning and Flight Monitoring,
  • Human Performance,
  • Meteorology,
  • General Navigation,
  • Radio Navigation,
  • Operational Procedures,
  • Principles of Flight,
  • VFR Communications,
  • IFR Communications

The exact scope of training depends on the existing licenses and is between approx. 200 h and 600 h of computer-aided self-study combined with an approx. 1-week theory course (offered by us as a block, evening or individual course). At the end of the training, you will complete an internal preliminary test with us before we register you for the theory test at the Austrian aviation authority Austrocontrol.

flight training

None. As described above, the flight training takes place parallel to this theoretical training.


Training requirement is a valid PPL (with or without IFR Rating)

duration of training

From our training experience, the entire theoretical training can be completed within 3 - 4 months, but then requires a corresponding willingness to learn and learning time. On average, the course duration is around 6 – 8 months.


 Citation XLS Business-Jet