Our commercial pilot program takes place in three separate blocks of three months each.
Block 1: Basic Flying Skills (3 months) gives you an Australian Private Pilot's Licence (PPL).
Block 2: Advanced Flying Skills (3 months) adds various ratings and endorsements to your Private Pilot's licence like navigation, night flying, instrument flying and flying in controlled airspace.
Block 3: Commercial Pilot's Licence and Multi-Engine rating.

The first two blocks are taught by the NQAC Flying School at Mareeba aerodrome near Cairns. The third block involves studying for the theory and practical exams of the Australian Commercial Pilot's Licence at an aviation school in Townsville.

After successfully completing each 3-month block of training you will return home for two or three months to have a break and to seek or confirm sponsorship for your next block of training. Sponsors are more likely to support you through to the end of the training if they can pay in smaller amounts block by block after seeing that you are making good progress in the training.

Training in 3 month blocks with breaks in between also enables entry to Australia on a simple visitor visa instead of a complicated student visa. You may also need time to apply for a new visa for each traning block.

After gaining your commercial pilot's licence Aircrew Australia will arrange supervised work experience in your home country then help you begin applying for your first job with a charter operator, private / corporate aircraft owner or small airline.

From the beginning to the end, for each trainee we provide a complete training and support package beginning with pre-departure briefings at home, welcome and orientation programs on arrival in Australia, accommodation and weekly allowance during the training, all air travel and ground transport, pastoral care and supervision, passport and visa assistance, aviation security passes, various licenses, textbooks and pilot headphones, medical insurance and uniforms. No hidden expenses for the student pilots to worry about during their training.


Commercial aviation is a competitive industry. To gain employment with an airline or charter operator in the international aviation market you must have high quality training and skills.

In Australia, aviation training and safety standards are absolutely world-class and all your instructors will be fluent English speakers. This is important because English is the official language of aviation worldwide. All talk between flight crew in the cockpit and all air traffic control radio calls must be in English, with correct pronunciation. Passing the “Flight Radio” course in Block 2 will also involve an advanced English test.

To be offered employment with a charter operator or airline you will need to demonstrate high fluency in English because the job will involve holding English conversations with other pilots, cabin crew, engineers and ground crew, air traffic controllers and passengers from all over the world.

Living in Australia and training with Australian instructors will boost your English fluency and give you a great advantage over pilots training in other countries where the flight instructors may speak English as their second or third language and the people in the surrounding community may not speak English at all.

Indeed many airlines prefer to recruit pilots trained in English speaking countries like Australia and New Zealand.


Aircrew Australia is partnering with the North Queensland Aero Club flying school at Mareeba near Cairns ( ) to offer our first two blocks of flight training, both theory and practical, to achieve the Australian Private Pilot Licence (PPL) plus advanced flying skills.

Originally based at Cairns airport, the NQAC flying school moved inland to Mareeba in 2015 to get away from the busy air traffic and big jets using the single runway at Cairns International.

Mareeba aerodrome is a quiet airport with tar sealed 1500 metre (5000 foot) runway surrounded by flat farmlands growing sugar cane and bananas, and no mountains or other obstructions for small planes to worry about - see an aerial shot of the aerodrome on the internet here.

The airspace around Mareeba is uncontrolled. This allows student pilots to concentrate on learning to fly without having to get permission from air traffic controllers for every change of course or altitude. Mareeba aerodrome is such a perfect place to learn to fly that MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) has also relocated its Australian training base from Victoria to Mareeba.

Mareeba itself is a large country town about one hour’s drive from Cairns. There are plenty of shops, banks, churches and other services in Mareeba but no nightclubs or casinos to distract student pilots from their training. Supervised boarding accommodation is available with local Australian families.

Cairns has convenient flight connections to Port Moresby which makes it quick and easy for PNG student pilots to travel home at the end of each training block to have a break and secure sponsorship for the next block. Parents and sponsors are also welcome to pay a visit to Mareeba any time to see how the training is going and hop on for a joy flight with their own student at the controls.


The cost of the training program in 2020 is:

BLOCK 1 (Basic flying skills 3 months)
AUD60,000 (= approximately USD45,000 / PGK150,000 / FJD93,000 / IDR600mill / MYR175,000 / SGD58,500)

BLOCK 2 (Advanced flying skills 3 months)
AUD60,000 (= approximately USD45,000 / PGK150,000 / FJD93,000 / IDR600mill / MYR175,000 / SGD58,500)

BLOCK 3 (CPL / Twin-engine rating)
AUD80,000 (= approximately USD60,000 / PGK200,000 / FJD124,000 / IDR800mill / MYR233,000 / SGD78,000

TOTAL for 3 blocks x 3 months = 9 months training:
AUD200,000 (= approximately USD148,000 / PGK500,000 / FJD310,000 / IDR2000mill / MYR583,000 / SGD 195,000

These costs include theory classes, aircraft hire and instructor fees for practical flight training, return airfares to Cairns for each block, boarding accommodation and meals, study materials, uniforms, insurance, pocket money, GST and all other miscellaneous expenses. There are no hidden costs. We also include one free 7-day trip to Cairns for your sponsor to come and observe your training progress.

As you can see, flight training is expensive but there are only a few spaces available in cadet training schemes operated by airlines. So most intending pilots and flight attendants from PNG and Asia / Pacific countries have to either fund their own training with the help of their families and many, many fundraising activities, or otherwise seek corporate, government or donor sponsorship.

Fortunately generous sponsorship is sometimes available from politicians, local and provincial governments, statutory bodies, non-government organisations, private companies and philanthropists (private donors) that support the aviation industry.

If we accept you for our pilot training or flight attendant training program we will actively assist you to seek sponsorship to pay for your complete training package although we do not guarantee that you will be successful in securing a sponsor. All sponsors have limited funds available so there will never be enough sponsors for all applicants. If you cannot secure a sponsor, your only other option will be to do your own private fundraising for the fees.

You'll probably notice that our program is much more expensive than pilot training offered in cheap flying schools in the Philippines, Indonesia and other regional countries. There are several reasons for this:

  1. Some flying schools and agencies may publish only the training fees in their advertisements so that the price will look low. They may not include airfares, accommodation, weekly allowance, small laptop, uniforms, exam fees and employment assistance that Aircrew Australia packages into one price.
  2. Flight training in those countries includes only the bare minimum ground classes and flying hours to gain a single engine commercial pilot's licence of the Philippines or Indonesia and not the full set of advanced flying skills, technical ratings and experience handling different aircraft types that we include in our program.
  3. Flight training and saftey standards are higher in Australia and therefore the hire of training aircraft, instructors and aircraft maintenance costs more.
  4. We include additional solo flying hours during the program so that you will have a guaranteed minimum 250 solo hours in your pilot log book by the end of the program whereas to obtain a CPL in the Philippines you may only fly 150 solo hours. Our student pilots have a head start for first employment.
  5. The flying schools at Mareeba and Townsville operate a variety of light aircraft and you will gain experience on all of them including single engine vs twin engine, high-wing vs low-wing, fixed undercarriage vs retractable wheels, nose wheel vs tail wheel, fixed-pitch vs variable-pitch propellors and A1 fuelled vs avgas fuelled engines, varying in size from 2-seater sports aircraft to 8-seater small commuter planes. However if you attend a cheap flying school in the Philippines or Indonesia you will probably fly the same over-used single engine Cessna or Piper four-seater for the duration of the training and return home having only ever flown one particular aircraft.
  6. The cheap flying schools are often overcrowded and do not have enough training aircraft for the number of students they enrol so it is always difficult and competitive to book flight time on the flying school aircraft to build up your hours and therefore takes longer and you have to spend more time overseas trying to build up your flying hours and the cost of living there goes higher. At Mareeba there is no such problem because there are more than 10 different aircraft available for the student pilots to use and there are only a small number of students. This is why we can offer an accelerated program because there are aircraft available for you to train on at any time of the day, seven days a week.
  7. We include hands-on flying experience on various different single and twin engine aircraft that are used by small airlines and charter operators in the South Pacific / SE Asia region such as the Cessna 208 Grand Caravan, the PAC P-750XL, the Britten-Norman Islander and the DHC Twin Otter just so you can get the feel of these aircraft and record the experience in your log book. You just won't get this experience in any other pilot training program. We work hard to make our program the best, to help you get your first pilot job faster.

Click here to download our commercial pilot PROGRAM DETAILS and how to apply (PDF document).

Click here to download our commercial pilot APPLICATION FORM (PDF document).