16 Best Flight Schools in New Zealand: Best Guide

New Zealand is one of the best places to learn how to fly.

If you wish to become a pilot or are already one and looking for training schools in New Zealand, then this post is for you.

Whether you’re just getting started with your training or have been flying for years and need some refresher courses, there are many options available.

There are many flight schools in New Zealand that offer courses for both private and commercial pilots.

These include apprenticeships, as well as full-time programs at universities and colleges.

In this article, we’ll cover the best flight schools in New Zealand that are worth considering when planning your next trip!

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Attending Aviation School in New Zealand

There are many flight schools in New Zealand that offer training courses.

You can also attend an aviation school in New Zealand, which will teach you how to fly and navigate aircraft like a professional pilot.

There are also pilot training academies that offer courses for aspiring pilots who want to learn more about flying different kinds of aircraft.

Course Programs Offered in New Zealand Flight Schools

The civil aviation authority (CAA) has approved a wide range of course programs that can be completed to become a pilot in New Zealand.

Top flight schools in New Zealand offer a wide range of course programs that are approved by the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA).

Some of them include the Private Pilot License (PIL), Commercial Pilot License (CRA), Instrument Rating (IR), Multi-Engine Rating (MER), Multi-Engine IR rating, and many more.

The New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is New Zealand’s national aviation authority.

It is responsible for regulating civil aviation and registering pilots, aircraft, and operators.

The CAA offers several courses that can be completed before you take your flight test.

The Private Pilot License (PPL), Commercial Pilot License(CPL), Instrument Rating(IR), and Multi-IFR/Multi-Engine Rating are some of the most popular ones because they are required to fly privately or commercially in New Zealand.

If you are looking to learn how to fly a multi-crew aircraft, then the Multi-Engine Rating (MER) is the best way to go.

This can be done by completing an intensive ground school course followed by in-flight checks on your own aircraft.

If you want more than just the basics of flying and want some real experience under your belt before taking up your first solo flight, then a MEIR rating might be more suitable for you.

This consists of 20 hours of instruction and 10 hours of actual flight time in Israel within one year from when it was completed.

The MEIR rating allows pilots who have not yet earned their commercial pilot certificate but who have passed all other required training requirements for their license type/class/type ratings issued by Transport Canada or its equivalent authority elsewhere around the world.

Therefore, one of the following would be your goal if you were traveling to New Zealand for pilot training.

The following course packages are available at New Zealand Flight Training:

• Private Pilot License (PPL)

• ​Commercial Pilot License (CPL)

• ​Instrument Rating (IR)

• ​Instructor Rating (C Cat)

• ​Frozen ATPL

Private Pilot License (PPL)

The majority of pilot training starts with obtaining a private pilot license, which is comparable to obtaining your first driver’s license.

A PPL holder may serve as a Pilot-in-Command but is not permitted to receive payments.

Commercial Pilot License (CPL)

You might decide to pursue obtaining a commercial pilot license after finishing your training for a private pilot’s license.

You will be able to work for a wage, hire, or reward if you possess a Commercial Pilot License (CPL).

Instrument Rating (IR)

When you have an Instrument Rating, you can only fly or maneuver an aircraft by using its onboard instruments and radio signals from the ground.

For students interested in pursuing a career as an airline pilot, this curriculum is required.

A single-engine aircraft’s instrument rating is referred to as SEIR, and an aircraft with more than one engine’s instrument rating is referred to as MEIR.

While pursuing your commercial pilot license, you can earn this rating.

Instructor Rating (C Cat)

This program is for students who have a Commercial Pilot License and 150 hours of Pilot-in-Command experience and who want to teach other student pilots their skills and expertise.

This is comparable to a program for teachers’ training.

Frozen ATPL

These days, the majority of airlines prefer to hire pilots with frozen ATPLs since it enables them to begin command training as soon as they reach the necessary number of flight hours for the type of aircraft.

This curriculum will make sure you learn the additional information needed to advance from First Officer to Captain, among other things.

Entry Requirements for Flight Schools in New Zealand

Student pilots are required to complete an approved flight training course before they can apply for their private pilot’s license or commercial pilot’s certificate.

In New Zealand, the entry requirements for pilot training and flight training vary from school to school but are generally the same.

To be eligible for this training, you must have:

  • At least 18 years old; or

  • Completed at least 25 hours of aeronautical experience as an airframe rating examiner (ARFX) with 10 hours of credit towards completion of the practical. Student pilots are required to complete an approved flight training course before they can apply for their private pilot’s license or commercial pilot’s certificate.

  • Completed at least 60 hours of aeronautical experience as a captain within two years prior to applying for any type of private or commercial aircraft certification.

  • Class 2 medicals – ‘FIT’ for PPL or Class 1 medical ‘FIT’ for CPL of CAA NZ (Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand).

  • Highest educational certificate from their home country.

  • IELTS or equivalent English test acceptable to Immigration NZ for Level 5 program.

Why Study in New Zealand

New Zealand is a beautiful country with its own unique culture, history, and lifestyle.

It has a great climate that makes it one of the safest places to live in the world.

The beauty of this country lies in its natural surroundings and is unmatched by any other place on Earth.

The mountains are covered with snow for six months out of every year making them an amazing sight to see when you are flying above them!

Advantages of Flying in New Zealand

If you’re looking for a great place to fly, New Zealand is the perfect destination.

With its scenic beauty and wonderful weather, there are many reasons why this country is considered one of the best places in the world to fly.

New Zealand has some of the most beautiful scenery in all of New Zealand.

The country’s natural beauty makes it an excellent place to train pilots as they fly over land and sea.

There are many opportunities for pilots to train and fly in beautiful New Zealand.

In fact, there are more flight schools in New Zealand than in any other country on earth.

New Zealand is one of the best places to fly because it has a large variety of weather conditions that can be found anywhere in the world.

There’s also an abundance of terrain for you to learn about as well: mountains, lakes, and oceans all around!

The main advantage of flying with us is our amazing quality training program which includes both ground school education as well as hands-on time at our fleet of aircraft before taking your first solo flight.”

Career Opportunities for Pilots in New Zealand

There are so many career opportunities for pilots in New Zealand to explore such as;

  • Helicopter Pilot
  • Chief Pilot
  • Line Mechanics
  • Agricultural Drone Pilot
  • Pilot Drivers
  • Instructor / Senior Helicopter Pilot
  • Flight Operations Controller
  • Simulator Pilots

Commercial Pilot License

A commercial pilot license is the highest level of aviation training.

It allows you to use aircraft for business purposes, such as transporting passengers or cargo and making deliveries.

This can be for any size aircraft, from small planes to large passenger jets or military planes.

To obtain a commercial pilot license, you must pass an exam that covers topics like aerodynamics and meteorology (the study of weather conditions).

You also must complete theoretical training on subjects such as flight planning, navigation systems, and procedures for dealing with emergency in-flight situations.

Once you have completed all the requirements necessary to obtain your commercial pilot’s license, there are many career opportunities available in this field including airline pilot; general aviation (private) pilot; air traffic control specialist; instructor/flight instructor; helicopter operator.

Requirements for Obtaining a Pilot License in New Zealand

To obtain a pilot license in New Zealand, you must meet the following requirements:

• You must be at least 18 years of age.

• You must have held a valid Class 1 (Pilot’s License) or Class 2 (Private Pilot’s License) for three years prior to your application.

• You must not have been convicted of any offense under the Airline Transport Officers Act 1995, nor convicted of an offense punishable by imprisonment for 12 months or more in any jurisdiction other than New Zealand at the time of application for this license; and/or has been detained by Police on suspicion of committing an offense punishable by imprisonment for 12 months or more in any jurisdiction other than New Zealand at any time during which he/she held such license.

The List of Best Flight Schools in New Zealand

Below are the top 16 flight schools in New Zealand:

Ardmore Flying School

Ardmore Flying School is a full-time training provider for aspiring pilots.

Since 1998, Ardmore has provided the highest quality of flight training to people who want to learn how to fly their own aircraft and become commercial pilots.

Ardmore offers a wide range of courses at all levels, including private and commercial license training on helicopters, airplanes, and single-engine piston aircraft.

The company also offers ground school instruction in aerodynamics, engine maintenance/repair, and meteorology-related topics such as icing conditions or turbulence avoidance tactics during crosswind landings.

Ardmore has a fleet of aircraft available for rent or purchase depending upon what you need most at any given time; they are also happy to provide discounts if purchasing multiple vehicles together (for example 2 instructor’s licenses).

For more information, visit the school’s website.

International Airline Training Academy of New Zealand Limited

International Airline Training Academy of New Zealand Limited is a flight school located in Auckland, New Zealand. 

They offer courses for pilots and cabin crew to become qualified to fly international flights with the airlines they are working for.

International Airline Training Academy offers the following courses:

Commercial Pilot Certificate (Aeroplane) – This course is designed for students who want to learn how to fly an aeroplane safely, legally and professionally. 

Students will be taught about airspace regulations, weather conditions and emergency procedures during their training period at [International Airline Training Academy](https://www.airlines-academy/academy/course).

Instrument Rating Course – If you want more information about this course then please visit our website where we have written an article which gives details about what instruments are required when flying an aircraft as well as how they work together with each other so that pilots can achieve their goals successfully every time.

Visit the school’s website

Aviation New Zealand

Aviation New Zealand is a private company that offers training and education for pilots and flight crew. Located in Hamilton, New Zealand, they are a member of the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization).

The school’s aviation courses cover theory as well as practical applications such as how to fly an aircraft or how to use instruments during flight.

Students can also choose from pre-flight or post-flight training programs; this includes things like multi-engine rating courses or instrument rating courses.

For more details, visit the school’s website

Ace Aviation 

One of the pilot training facilities is Ace Aviation, which is situated in Queenstown, New Zealand. 

A short distance from Queenstown, at the Kingston Aerodrome, is where Ace Aviation is based. Kerry Conner, chief flying instructor, is the owner and operator. 

In addition to commercial scenic/charter flying, aerial photography, and flight instruction in New Zealand mountainous terrain, such as the Southern Alps, Westland, Fiordland, and the Wairarapa, Kerry is a career teacher with over 30 years of experience.

Ace Aviation is a distinctive flying school that specializes in teaching beginning pilots how to fly taildraggers—aircraft with a tail wheel instead of a nose wheel. 

The principles of flying are emphasized throughout the training programs at Ace Aviation, and instructors make sure aspiring pilots comprehend what they are studying.

For more details, visit the school’s website

Air Hawke’s Bay Flight Training Academy

One of the best pilot training or flight training schools in New Zealand, Air Hawke’s Bay Flight Training Academy specializes in offering full-time integrated fixed-wing pilot flight training for both domestic and international students, as well as air charter services. 

The most important characteristic would be considered to be Air Hawke’s Bay’s reputation for producing qualified applicants through our internship program, which leads to a higher success rate of employment. 

Over and above the results specified for the diploma, the internship program offers additional outcomes.

For more details, visit the school’s website

Canterbury Aero Club

Another flying or pilot training school in New Zealand is the Canterbury Aero Club. 

The school offers an extensive fleet of aircraft, dedicated, highly qualified instructors, and training programs for students of all ages. 

This quest takes place against a breathtaking backdrop of plains, mountains, and expansive skies. 

The goal of the school is to foster safe and skilled flying as well as practice, study, and research in all facets of aviation. 

The Canterbury Aero Club provides the following pilot training programs:

  • Private Pilot (PPL) 
  • Commercial Pilot (CPL) 
  • Instrument Rating (IR) 
  • Multi-Engine Class Rating 
  • Aerobatics Tailwheel

For more details, visit the school’s website

Aerotraining Flight Academy (PPL)

Aerotraining Flight Academy is a flight school based in Auckland, New Zealand. 

It offers training for the Private Pilot Licence (PPL), Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), Instrument Rating (IR) and Multi-Engine Rating (MEL).

Full-time courses are offered at their main campus in Hamilton or onshore at various locations around New Zealand. 

Part-time courses are also available by distance learning via the internet with no set schedule.

For more details, visit the school’s website

Mainland Aviation College

In order to provide flight instruction and aviation charter services, Mainland Air was founded in 1991. 

They currently operate a fleet of four twin-engine and ten single-engine aircraft that are geographically appropriate for New Zealand. 

Philip and Shirley Kean own and run their parent firm, Enfield Holdings Ltd. They have a combined total of more than 50 years’ expertise in the aviation sector. 

They are a flight training organization that grants full-time students Aviation Diplomas. Our organization is routinely audited against Civil Aviation and NZQA standards, and the quality of our training exceeds industry standards.

For more details, visit the school’s website

Wingspan Flight Instruction (PPL, CPL, MEIR)

Wingspan Flight Instruction is a flight school that offers training programs for private pilot licence, commercial pilot license, multi-engine instrument rating, multi-engine instructor rating and multi-engine helicopter rating.

Wingspan Flight Instruction is also the only New Zealand-based flight school to offer CPL ground schools in Auckland and Wellington. 

This means you can get your FAA issued certificate at their offices rather than having to travel all over the country or even overseas. 

For more details, visit the school’s website

Eagle Flight Training

They specialize in providing advanced training to overseas students as a prerequisite for employment in the aviation industry. 

From the Ab Initio level up to the Private and Commercial Pilot License levels, complete with either a Single-engine or Multi-engine IFR Rating, the aviation school offers flying and ground instruction. 

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) has also approved Eagle Flight Training to offer diploma-level and training scheme-level qualifications. 

Their training is focused on helping students learn how to handle aircraft and equipment in a safe, practical, and efficient manner. 

It also promotes the growth of “situational awareness” at the professional level while handling all aspects of the aviation environment for which Pilots are accountable.

The headquarters of Eagle Flight Training are in Gisborne, New Zealand. 

The dynamic training environment is especially well adapted to flight training due to its marine climate (temperate) and average of about 2000 hours of sunshine per year.

The School is in a good position to carry out all types of flight training, in particular, Basic PPL, CPL, real Cross Country, Mountain Terrain, IFR, and MEIR Training, and is continually guided by seasoned instructors.

For more details, visit the school’s website

Whitianga Flight School (PPL, MEIR, Multi IFR)

Whitianga Flight School is located in Whitianga, New Zealand. 

The school was established in 1983 and offers a wide range of courses that include PPL, MEIR, and Multi IFR (instrument rating).

The trainers at this flight training school are highly qualified. 

They have been trained by experienced instructors from around the world who have worked at some of the best aviation schools in Europe and North America.

For more details, visit the school’s website

Qantas Airline Pilot Academy

Qantas Airline Pilot Academy is a flight school that is based in New Zealand and offers training for the private pilot license, commercial pilot license, and instrument rating. 

The academy’s head instructor, Dean Rodda-Martin, has been working with Qantas since 1995.

The Qantas Airline Pilot Academy offers a variety of courses to help you get your license quickly. 

Private Pilot License Course (PPL) – This course covers everything you need to know about flying an aircraft under visual flight rules (VFR). You’ll learn how to maneuver through clouds and perform emergency procedures on board an aircraft as well as taking off from airports or dockside areas using power or manually operated propellers.

For more details, visit the school’s website


ThePilot is a training organization founded by airline pilots with over ten years of practical experience, knowledge, and resources to support one of the top international Standard Professional Pilot programs. 

It is set up in a way that takes into account all the legal criteria imposed by the DGCA and makes pre- and post-processing easier, allowing you to concentrate on your pilot training. 

Their VISION is to support Genuine, Cost-ware, and Professional Pilot Training Programs of High Quality.

For more details, visit the school’s website

Auckland Flight Training Ltd

The main advantage of AFT is that it has its own aircraft with full flight crew on board who can help you with any questions or problems that may arise while flying in New Zealand’s skies. 

Auckland Flight Training Ltd. (AFT) is a New Zealand-based flight school that offers a wide range of courses, including the Private Pilot Licence (PPL), Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), Instrument Rating (IR), Multi-Engine Rating (MER) and Multi Engine IR rating.

Massey University School of Aviation (FAA PPL/CPL and ATPLs, NZ PPL/CPL and ATPLs)

Massey University School of Aviation (FAA PPL/CPL and ATPLs, NZ PPL/CPL and ATPLs)

Massey University is one of the top flight schools in New Zealand. It offers a wide range of aviation courses that can be taken as part of an academic degree or as part of an industry-related qualification.

The school has been offering training since 1963, when it was known as Massey College of Aeronautics before being renamed in 1992.

The name was changed again in 2005 to reflect its current status as one of New Zealand’s leading providers for flight training qualifications such as those offered by Air New Zealand, Emirates airline or Jetstar flight schools

For more details, visit the school’s website

1. Is New Zealand best for pilot training?

New Zealand is one of the most preferred destinations around the world for pilot training thanks to it offering the best mix of elements, helping to create professional pilots that are ready to take on any airline job.

2. How much does it cost to become a pilot in NZ?

As a general guide, it can cost around $100,000 to $120,000 NZD to complete a CPL, this does not include any extra Ratings or hours needed to master the required flight skills and is intended as a guide only.

3. Is New Zealand good for flying?

You will find New Zealand an outstanding country to fly in with a wide diversity of terrain and weather in which to develop and practice your new skills.

Locally we have three airfields ranging from a busy regional airport through to a large military base.

4. How much do NZ pilots make a year?

A person working as a Pilot in New Zealand typically earns around 157,000 NZD per year.

Salaries range from 75,500 NZD (lowest) to 247,000 NZD (highest).

This is the average yearly salary including housing, transport, and other benefits. Pilot salaries vary drastically based on experience, skills, gender, or location.

5. How long does it take to get a pilot license in NZ?

A minimum of 50 hours of flight time.

Included in this flight time will be At least 30 hours with an instructor on board, and at least 15 hours flying solo under the supervision of an instructor on the ground.

6. Is becoming a pilot worth the cost?

Yes, being a pilot is worth it for many students.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 5% job growth for airline and commercial pilots over the next ten years.

This is faster than the average growth for all occupations.

7. How long does it take to become a pilot in NZ?

Length of training

2-3 years of training required.

8. Are pilots in demand in New Zealand?

Air New Zealand – the largest employer of airplane pilots in the country – cut its workforce by a third in 2020, but planned to recall about a hundred pilots a year in 2022 and 2023.

However, a number of pilots have left permanently.

9. Which country is best for pilot training?

So, here are the top 5 study abroad destinations to pursue aviation study programs:

  • The UK. Being home to the Royal Air Force, the United Kingdom has a rich history in the field of aviation.
  • The Philippines
  • Greece
  • The US
  • Australia

10. Is pilot Life a stressful job?

An airline pilot can be an extremely stressful job due to the workload, responsibilities, and safety of the thousands of passengers they transport around the world.

Chronic levels of stress can negatively impact one’s health, job performance, and cognitive functioning.

11. Which pilot is paid most?

8 high-paying pilot jobs

  • Cargo pilot. National average salary: $63,988 per year.
  • Flight instructor. National average salary: $66,373 per year.
  • Airline transport pilot. National average salary: $84,372 per year.
  • Agricultural pilot.
  • Ambulatory pilot.
  • Helicopter pilot.
  • Government service pilot.
  • Military pilot.

12. What is the most prestigious flight school?

Top Flight Schools Revealed

  • ATP Flight School.
  • Aero guard Flight Training.
  • Spartan College.
  • Blue Line Aviation.


In this article, we’ve reviewed the top 30 flight schools in New Zealand.

We hope this article helped you explore the possibilities of studying to become a pilot in New Zealand.

We recommend choosing a flight school with a good reputation because it will help you get the most out of your experience.

There are many different flight schools in New Zealand and the best one for you depends on what level you want to start at.

If your goal is to become a commercial pilot, then it would be best to go with a company that offers all types of training programs such as private pilot license (PPL), commercial pilot license (CPL), and instrument rating (IR).

On top of these programs they also offer other courses such as multi-engine rating (MER) or multi-engine in rating so if your dream is not just flying but also being an airline pilot then this might be the right choice for you!

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