Bachelor of Aviation

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Become part of a new generation of pilots

Learn how to fly in Massey’s state-of the art training fleet, while gaining a qualification that employers seek.

What is it like?

Massey's Bachelor of Aviation (Air Transport Pilot) is a university undergraduate qualification intended for career pilots. It will not just train you to be a competent pilot, but to become a ‘flight deck manager’ with a university education, and an in-depth understanding of the aviation industry.

Massey owns and operates a fleet of technically advanced Diamond single engine and twin engine aircraft equipped with full digital avionics approved for Performance Based Navigation operations.”

You’ll also get to learn in our state-of-the-art flight Diamond DA-42 flight simulator. With a 220-degree wraparound screen, it can be positioned at any airport in the world and the scenery outside will match the location. Massey University's School of Aviation was the first pilot training facility in New Zealand to install this new-generation simulator, worth nearly $700,000.

Turn your passion into a career

Massey University is the only place in New Zealand where you can turn your passion for aviation into a university qualification. We are an internationally-recognised pilot training facility, but we also give you a broad knowledge of the global aviation industry. We will introduce you to the critical ‘soft’ skills required of a professional aviator such as:

  • Decision-making
  • Communication
  • Workload management
  • Conflict resolution

These will expand the range of careers open to you in the aviation industry.

Skills that employers seek

A career as a pilot is exciting and highly sought-after. Our aviation degree will give you a point of difference - an in-depth understanding of the industry, and an internationally-recognised qualification. We will teach you the skills that employers seek.

In addition to the scenario-based flight training methodology, a special feature of the flight training programme is multi-crew training. This is designed to prepare you for functioning as flight crew members in air carrier operations. The Airline Bridging Course module at the end of the flight training phase is unique to the Bachelor of Aviation programme.

Electronic flight bags

Electronic flight bags (EFBs) are now almost standard for every major international air carrier. Previously pilots needed to have comprehensive documentation for each flight, carried in the physical EFB. This has now mostly moved to a digital format. As a new Bachelor of Aviation (ATP) student you will be issued with an Apple iPad to be used as your EFB for the duration of your flight training practicum period.

Industry mentor

Finally your cohort (group studying in the same year as you) will be assigned an experienced aviation industry mentor to help guide you through the course and to give you the benefit of their industry experience and knowledge.


This programme is ISO-9001-2015 certified and holds the unique distinction of holding an Equivalence Approval from the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority. This means if you obtain your professional pilot's licence through Massey School of Aviation you can (if selected by Air NZ) enrol in the Air New Zealand "Airline Induction Course"- successful completion of which will place you in a "pool" of preferred pilots for induction by Air New Zealand.

It has ISO 9001-2015 certification and holds an Equivalence Approval from the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority. That means your examination results are accepted in lieu of CAA examinations, and flight examiners from the School are approved for conducting flight tests for issue of licences.

Internationally-recognised qualification

Your qualification is internationally-recognised, and accredited by the key New Zealand aviation authorities.

Massey University's Bachelor of Aviation was the first non-engineering degree to be recognised by the Royal Aeronautical Society (1998) and Massey was the first New Zealand training organisation to meet all of the requirements for Civil Aviation Authority Rule Part 141 certification. When studying for the Bachelor of Aviation, professional pilot licensing requirements of the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand are integrated into your degree’s courses. Therefore upon graduation you’ll be issued with a commercial pilot’s licence and multi-engine instrument ratings. In addition you will have gained the theory credits towards your NZ ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot Licence).

Massey Business School is ranked in the top 2% of business schools globally.

Massey University’s business and management studies also rank in the top 200 (by QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) rankings). We are also ranked in the top 150 universities worldwide for business administration programmes by the ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects.

A good fit if you:

  • Love the idea of flying for a living
  • Enjoy mathematics and physics
  • Keep your cool in stressful situations
  • Have leadership skills.
  • Want to have a profession - not just a ‘job’
  • Want a degree - not just a ‘licence to fly’
Keegan Gaarkeuken, Bachelor of Aviation
Keegan Gaarkeuken
Bachelor of Aviation
(Air Transport Pilot)
Graduated in 2011
First Officer - Eagle Airways (Air New Zealand Link)

“I found the Massey training and instructing set me up very well for this step into the airlines and I used the skills I had used in training students to use myself in a real environment…”

Keegan launched his aviation career as a volunteer instructor at the 2010 Walshe Memorial Scout Flying School.

His professional aviation career began in 2010 when he became a Graduate Flight Instructor - with the Massey University School of Aviation. After completing his B-Cat, IFR, Night, Aerobatics, Spinning and Multi-engine instructor endorsements he was offered a full time instructor position  with Massey. At the completion of his time at Massey he had logged 1200 hours including 800 hours instructing.

Today he is First Officer for Eagle Airways (Air New Zealand Link), based in Whangarei, flying mainly within the North Island.

"I enjoyed my time in Palmerston North, I think it's a great place to learn to fly. I got varied experience at Massey and enjoyed the cross-countries around the central plateau the most. The new Diamonds were great to fly, but I also enjoyed the older aircraft that I trained on.

I found the Massey training and instructing set me up very well for this step into the airlines and I used the skills I had used in training students to use myself in a real environment. Having completed my ATPL theory subjects as part of the degree gave me a leg up when joining the airline and progressing my professional qualifications. Having the subjects gave me the opportunity to complete the flight test for the licence much easier when the various hour requirements were met.

Overall the aviation industry is a hard one to be in, but perseverance is the key to getting through. It's how you conduct yourself and attitude from day one that determines how well you'll cope. Setting myself high standards has made the journey a bit easier. There are plenty of ups and downs but its how well you ride the downs that determines how high the ups go. "Keep at it!" is what I've heard so many times and it’s true, it goes a long way towards success."

He flies Beech 1900D (a 19 seat turbo-prop) "with twice as much speed than anything he had ever flown before".


If you study the Bachelor of Aviation (Air Transport Pilot), your preferred career will no doubt be as a pilot. Gaining this degree will also open other doors for other potential careers within the aviation industry.

At a later stage you may wish to progress to key management or training positions within an airline or with international bodies such as International Air Transport Association (IATA) or the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). At this stage postgraduate study would be useful.

  • Flying for national and international carriers
  • Continuing with postgraduate study in aviation management.

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