What is an ATO?


What is an Approved Training Organisation (ATO)?


Throughout our website you will see us referring to ATOs and see ATO numbers, but what are ATOs and why is it important? 


An ATO is an Approved Training Organisation. They are approved to deliver flight training by a 'competent authority'. These competent authorities set strict rules and standards that training providers are examined against. 

A flight school only receives approval if they are deemed to adhere to these regulations, which include but are not limited to:

  • The safety and standard of training being delivered
  • The standard of learning material being provided
  • The safety and standard of aircraft/simulators the training is being delivered on

Gaining approval as an ATO is a time consuming and expensive process for the training provider. It is the highest level of approval a training provider can receive. 

Once approved, an ATO is approved to deliver training towards licences that will be issued by the competent authority which issued their approval. 

Frequently Asked Questions about ATOs

Is the training at all ATOs the same?

The minimum standard of training and safety will be the same at all ATOs as this is part of the requirement to receive approval. There is a minimum syllabus an ATO will also have to deliver. However there will be differences in the methods, aircraft and training you receive at different ATOs. 

Do I need to use an ATO for all my training?

Almost. Modular students could use lesser regulated training providers for training such as the PPL, and even a simple flying club for the hour building. All the advanced training must be delivered by an ATO. Integrated courses will always be delivered at an ATO. 

What does it mean if Pilot Network says this provider is not an ATO?

Our verified training providers who are not ATOs will have a message displayed on their profile to make you aware they are not an ATO. This does not necessarily mean their standard of training is poor it simply displays they have not taken the steps to receive approval from a competent authority. This may be as they do not need to for the type of training they offer, such as an hour building club. Depending on the training you are planning to undertake you should decide if you need to use an ATO or not.