Flex Air, a growth-stage aviation training startup, announced the launch of Via Careers, the first flight training program to offer Income Share Agreements (ISAs) as an alternative to student loans.
“Flex Air is a company built around serving our students in what historically has been a financially difficult journey to an airline career,” said Paul Wynns, Flex Air CEO.
“The air transportation industry is in a period of unprecedented growth and opportunity. We think all skilled and dedicated student pilots should have access to that industry, regardless of credit history, co-signer availability, or other socio-economic factors.”
Income Share Agreements are an education financing model widely adopted by universities and vocational schools.
Flex Air’s adoption of Income Share Agreements is a first in the aviation industry, which has encountered a severe air transport pilot shortage that is anticipated to last for decades.
Flex Air has collaborated with Leif, the Income Share Agreement market leader in the U.S., to launch and manage an Income Share Agreement program for Via Careers students.
Student pilots bound for airline careers are an especially good fit for ISAs due to the widespread wage transparency, predictable career paths, and seniority-based pay systems at all air carriers.
Income Share Agreements remove the burden of upfront tuition cost for students, who, in exchange for their education, agree to pay a fixed percentage of their income for a fixed duration after graduation when they are earning income above a minimum threshold.
The power of the model is the access it creates due to the clear alignment of interests between student pilot, flight school, and financial provider.
Demand for new pilots will exceed 200,000 in North America alone in the coming decades, according to recent estimates published by The Boeing Company. Flex Air estimates that this demand will drive more than $21bn in training revenue.