In a move practically mimicking JetBlue, American Airlines announced today the opening of a new pilot training program for off-the-street pilot dreamers.

The official name is the American Airlines Cadet Academy and provides an avenue for anyone hoping to become a commercial airline pilot. American realizes a huge barrier to entry for pilots is cost and they’ve partnered with a lender to provide financing options up to $100,000:

  • Get a great variable or fixed rate with no fees required
  • 0.25% Auto Debit Reward when you are enrolled in automatic payments during repayment
  • No cosigner required
  • No payments are required, up to 42 months, while you are making satisfactory academic progress during the Instruction Period and Hour Building phases as reported by the flight school or American Airlines.


Couple things to unpack here:

  • You still have to pay a considerable amount, though it is MUCH less than what you would pay if you were to finance your own training.
  • American’s cadet program is cheaper than JetBlue’s by around $25,000.
  • American does not guarantee you a job with one of their affiliates. You are only guaranteed an interview. JetBlue actually guarantees a job as an Embraer 190 first officer upon completion of training.


With respect to the last point about job guarantee, American writes this on the website:

After you complete your training, you will have the opportunity to interview at American’s three regional subsidiary airlines. If you are hired, you will benefit from our unique flow-through agreement.

This means you will be offered a job as an American Airlines First Officer once your company seniority allows you to move (flow) up.


The program is cut into two phases:

a close-up of a blue and white card

Interested candidates will be required to complete training at one of the following locations:

American Flyers — Dallas, TX or Pompano Beach, FL — $87,120
CAE — Phoenix, AZ — $89,165
CTI — Millington, TN — $72,855

*The price of the program includes all training, materials, and uniforms. The cost of housing, meals, and transportation can be added if necessary, up to a $100,000 aggregate borrowing limit. Cadet Academy is designed to avoid any unforeseen expenses.

For more information, head over to the AA Cadet Academy website.

Do you have dreams of becoming a pilot for American Airlines? Additionally, are you interested in this program?