MANILA - From working in control towers, Dennis Veloso now sees a chance at fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a commercial pilot, which seemed impossible before because of the millions of pesos required in aviation school.
Veloso is applying for Cebu Pacific's cadet pilot program, wherein the country's largest carrier will finance the schooling of 240 hopefuls in Australia. Once employed by the airline, they will repay the cost over 10 years.
Cebu Pacific said it would spend $25 million (P1.27 billion), or roughly $100,000 per cadet, for studies in Australia, home to some of its fastest-growing routes.
"Simula nung bata pa ko gusto ko na. Lagi ko kasing pinapanood yung Top Gun noon," Veloso told ABS-CBN News, referring to Tom Cruise's star-making vehicle.
(That was my dream as a kid. I was always watching Top Gun.)
"Yung expense ng pilot career hindi biro," he said, adding costs could run up to P2 million. Veloso's father is a seaman while his mother is a housewife.
(The expenses for a pilot career are no joke.)
Cash-strapped, Veloso studied to become an airplane mechanic and worked in several aviation-related jobs to save money for his pilot schooling.
Veloso was as an instructor in an aviation school and scheduled take-offs and landings for Philippines Airlines. Currently, he works at Cebu Pacific's engineering department.
"We're looking for judgment, leadership capabilities, intelligence, and patience," Cebu Pacific president and CEO Lance Gokongwei told reporters.
Forty-eight cadets will be sent to Adelaide for training every year from 2018 to 2022.
Cebu Pacific's pilots take turns flying its fleet of 59 aircraft. It plans to hire about 300 more pilots as it expects a delivery of 48 more aircraft between 2017 and 2022.