FTA Global launches ‘Fair Fees’ pricing strategy

Flight training academy FTA Global, located at Brighton City Airport, is launching a new payment structure this year, allowing students to make more frequent and smaller payments as they progress their training.

FTA says that the initiative is in reaction to a growing propensity for pilot training schools to adopt course fee payment plans requiring aspirant pilots to pay both a large deposit and material fees in advance of training actually being delivered. FTA claims that this has resulted in growing customer dissatisfaction that they have effectively lost control of both their cash and influence over the cadence of their training service delivery.

FTA adds that the situation seems particularly prevalent for Integrated ATPL courses where, in some instances, pilot schools are taking greater than 75% of total course fees within the first six months of a 20-month course.

The academy has now introduced a new payment policy, named Fair Fees, which comprises three key pillars:

Cooling-off period

FTA says that the decision to undertake a course of commercial pilot training is significant and not a decision to be made either without research, in haste or under pressure. With this in mind, in the event that a customer books a course place with FTA, pays the deposit and then changes their mind within 14-days, the deposit will be refunded in full.

Course deposits

The non-refundable deposit to book a place on any FTA training programme has been reduced to a standardised £2,500 reflecting the direct costs that FTA says it will incur should a customer withdraw from the course after the cooling-off period has expired.

Fee payment schedule

FTA confirms that monthly fees requested by Direct Debit will now more closely align with the training phase being undertaken and the cost of training that the customer is actually undertaking.

The Fair Fees structure for the FTA Integrated ATPL course comprises:

  1. Course Deposit (non-refundable after cooling-off) – initial payment of £2,500
  2. ATPL Theoretical Knowledge Training – nine payments of £2,500
  3. VFR Single-engine Flight Training (Foundation Phase) – four payments of £4,000
  4. IFR Single/Multi-Engine Flight Training (Intermediate & Advanced Phases) – eight payments of £5,000
  5. APS MCC and UPRT Training (once the IR skills test has been passed) – one final payment of £8,500

FTA adds that an additional benefit of its new Fair Fees payment policy is that customers may now save as much as £3,000 in interest costs compared to the academy’s old fees structure (assuming 9% APR on a loan drawn down monthly).

FTA says that it will continue to offer a ‘Fly First’ option for its Integrated ATPL students, with up to four spaces per course available on a first-come, first-served basis. This enables customers to receive VFR foundation flight training before commencing ATPL theoretical knowledge flight training, which is not generally offered on integrated fATPL training programmes. In this instance, FTA confirms that the fee payment profiles are simply interchanged to reflect the phase of training being undertaken.

Commenting on the new Fair Fees initiative, FTA MD Sean Jacob said: “We have been listening carefully to our customers for some time and examining the approach taken by UK pilot training schools to customer fee payments. I’m delighted that FTA Global has chosen to lead our industry in taking a fairer and more ethical approach on this subject through our new Fair Fees initiative.”

More information can be found on FTA’s website.

Author: FTN Editor

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