What is a Frozen ATPL?

Frozen ATPL

Early in my pilot training I heard my instructor mention that he had a Frozen ATPL.

It sounded painful!

Or at the very least it sounded slightly negative, like he had been stopped from doing something. I certainly didn’t know what it was.


So, what is a Frozen ATPL?

When a pilot goes through the training required to fly commercially at airline standards in a multi-crew environment, they achieve an Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence, or ATPL.

However, if a pilot has not yet flown the minimum number of 1500 hours, the licence will remain ‘frozen’, or inactive.

Can I complete the ATPL training at any time?

Yes, any PPL holder can go on to complete all of the ground school requirements and train to become an airline pilot.

Many schools will require that you have completed a set amount of flying time before starting.


How do I ‘un-freeze’ my ATPL?

Your ATPL will remain frozen until you have reached 1500 hours of flying time, which is made up of the following criteria:

  • 500 hrs multi-pilot in transport or commuter aircraft
  • 250 hrs PIC (or 100 Pilot in Command and 150 PIC under supervision)*
  • 200 hrs cross country flights (100 as Pilot in Command)
  • 75 hrs instrument time
  • 100 hrs night flight as PIC or co-pilot


Can I get a job with a Frozen ATPL?

Yes, it is certainly feasible to get a job with an airline if you have a Frozen ATPL.

Many airlines will accept applications from pilots who don’t yet have the required number of hours and offer them the opportunity to complete this aspect of their training on the job. Check the job adverts for specific requirements with each airline.


Matt Falcus is a private pilot and aviation writer. He has been flying since 2006, taking the opportunity whenever the British weather allows to explore the local area and other airfields. He is author of a number of aviation books.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *