Flying for Ryanair as a Pilot

In our newest series of blogs, the theme is “what it’s like to fly for” a particular airline.
The AirlinePrep team have accumulated thousands of hours working for major UK and international airlines and we are well connected through our previous clients to other airlines.
In this blog, we talk about ‘what it’s like to fly for Ryanair’ and provide some basic recruitment info.

The Airline

Ryanair has a fleet of almost 400 aircraft, currently all 737-800, with firm orders for the new 737 MAX. With more than 11000 employees and a network of 209 destinations and 82 bases, Ryanair is the biggest European carrier. The core of the Airline’s operations is the implementation of the Southwest model in Europe: this includes (among others) quick turnaround times, fleet commonality, low fares and the use of regional/minor airports.

Despite often being at the centre of media criticism, Ryanair maintains an excellent safety record and is currently the most profitable passenger airline in Europe. Ryanair’s plans for continuous expansion call for a continuous intake of pilots, both cadets and direct entry. You can find out more about Ryanair Pilot recruitment here

Aircraft, Routes and Flying 

Ryanair is a great airline to fly for to gain experience. Most days comprise 4 sectors, coming back to your home base at the end of every rotation. One of the benefits of the rostering system is a fixed 5 days on – 4 days off pattern that allows you to plan your time off in advance. A large number of sectors means a great number of take-offs and landings, which is ideal for cadet pilots to build their experience levels.

Depending on your base, you might be flying to a huge number of different destinations. From some bases two sector days are more common and typically involve sectors to destinations such as Cyprus, the Canaries and Scandinavia. 


All sectors have to be completed within EASA flight time limitations, and there is no deep night flying in the airline’s operations. This means that, everything going well, you always sleep in your own bed! Occasionally the airline might send you to another base to fly a block of duties.

Rosters are published monthly, and changes generally need to be given with 7 days notice.  There is a maximum of 6 consecutive days on per block and the maximum amount of flying hours per month is 100. You can expect to fly close to 850 - 900 hours in 12 months. Every year you get a month of unpaid leave, and although you give preference regarding which month of the year would suit you best, there is no guarantee that this will be granted. 

Opportunities and Training

Ryanair’s training is structured and comes from years of experience training cadets that graduate straight from flying school. There are also plenty of career opportunities including:
  • SFI – Synthetic Flight Instructor
  • Quick command upgrades – based on the individual’s performance and generally requiring around 3000 hours total time.
  • For Captains - TRI/TRE, LTC (Line Training Captains)
  • Possibility of flying the airline’s business jets with a multi-type contract, based on availability
  • Expect a simulator check and recurrent training every 6 months. Ryanair’s simulators are spread across the network, with venues in London, Dublin and Bergamo.


Cadets: No minimum hours requirement with continuous recruitment  (Ongoing) 
Type Rating costs to be met by the student, but luckily the airline guarantees a job providing attainment of satisfactory standards. The assessment process includes:

  • Personal (HR) and Technical Interview
  • Simulator Assessment 

Experienced pilots: There is a very similar selection process in place for Direct Entry First Officers and Direct Entry Captains. The requirements vary based on the airline’s needs. 

Ryanair’s expansion plans and turn-over of pilots mean that recruitment is always open and the airline constantly required new personnel. 

For more detailed information about the Ryanair recruitment process, try AirlinePrep The App which is available directly from our website . The App contains a dedicated Ryanair recruitment brief with feedback ATPL and interview questions as well as a comprehensive information on the simulator check.

Our courses are perfect preparation for your forthcoming Airline Pilot interview and assessment. Courses include:

  • 1 to 1 competency based interview
  • Group exercises
  • Numerical reasoning
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Maths refresher training
  • Interview training
  • Group exercise training
  • Career development and pilot skills seminar
If you would like to know more about how we can support and help you with your Airline or Cadet Pilot interview, then please feel free to contact us.