ETSIAEStudiesUndergraduate's Degree in Air Transport Management and Operations (Grado en Gestión y Operaciones del Transporte Aéreo, GyOTA)Description and Grounds


The “Undegraduate's Degree in Air Transport Management and Operations”, offers three different pathways with specific optional subjects:

  • Aeronautical Management: Focused on operation processes and exploitation of the aeronautical sector
  • Air Transport flight operations: Focused on flight processes of airlines.
  • Air Traffic Control Operations: Focused on processes of provision of air traffic services

Furthermore, students may choose to complement their university courses for obtaining the licence of "Airline Transport Pilot" or "Air Traffic Controller". This additional education does not take part of the degree programme, so it is carried out separately in training centres with which the university has specific agreements.


The rationale behind this degree is that air transport, since the beginning of air transport in the late 1920s, has become one of the main driver forces for economic and social development in any geographical area around the world.

In its beginning stages, the air transport focused on the connection of certain pairs of cities, aimed on the transport of a reduced number of passengers and cargo. The advent of jet aircraft represents a definite step toward this means of transport as well as the development of an industrial and economic activity around it. 

As a complement to activity associated with aeronautical engineering, other professional areas have been developed within the sector:

  • Planning, operation and exploitation activities of air transport.
  • Aircraft in flight operation, carried out by commercial pilots.
  • Provision of air traffic services, conducted by air traffic controllers.

Nowadays, for a Captain or First Officer to exercise their duties in an Aircraft or for an Air Traffic Controller, it is required to have a professional qualification obtained by completing specific education set out in different European requirements and directives.

  • In the case of pilots, those rules are included in the Joint Aviation Requirements – Flight Crew Licensing, hereinafter, JAR-FCL. Students have to undertake official examinations of the Spanish Aviation Safety and Security Agency (Agencia Estatal de Seguridad Aérea (AESA), which belongs to the Ministry of Public Works ( ).
  • For Air Traffic Controller licence, requirements are set out in Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Commission Regulation (EU) No 805/2011, and the Spanish Royal Decree 1516/2009, which regulates the Community air traffic controller licence. In addition, the training centre must be certified by AESA according to the Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/340, to subsequently issue the relevant licence to the applicant.

Training to obtain these different professional licences must be carried out in specific centres accredited by AESA complying with relevant requirements. In both cases, specific training is made up of two different stages:

  • Theoretical training: In this phase aeronautical matters, both basic and specialized, are taught to for acquiring the necessary competences for flight operations and air traffic control operations.
  • Specialised practical training: Simulator practice (in the case of air traffic control) or flight training (in the case of airline pilot).

The Undergraduate's Degree in Air Transport Management and Operations offers the proper training for students to acquire competences corresponding to Theoretical Training. For this reason UPM reached agreements with two centres meeting the AESA requirements, so that training received in this degree is officially recognized as "Theoretical Training" within training programmes needed to fulfil the conditions for obtaining the licence.

These agreements (Extracto de los convenios de colaboracion_UPM_EUROPEAN_FLYERS_y_SAERCO) ensure students who satisfactorily completed all academic subjects of Undergraduate’s Degree in Air Transport Management and Operations (taking the required optional subjects), undertaken at UPM and are seeking an Air Traffic Controller (ATCO) License or an Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL). Thus, first phase of their training in the following specific centres will be recognised:

  • Air Traffic Controller: Those student will have successfully completed "Initial Basic Training", and
  • Airline Transport Pilot: The student will have successfully completed "Theoretical Training", and will be able to access the flight training phase.

Training centres will not take part in teaching at the Undergraduate's Degree in Air Transport Management and Operations (the UPM will be in charge thereof), but they will recognize those subjects followed by students as part of training required for obtaining the licence.

Aviation has been steadily expanding, particularly within the last years, where the most modern technology and its application have led to knowledge and training for Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers that greatly exceeds requirements by Regulations in force. The contents of such regulation, which develops minimum standards, have been widely discussed within the sector, as it understands that it is not deep enough in terms of the knowledge Pilots nowadays should acquire during their initial training period.

Similarly, Pilot and Air Traffic Controllers' professional practice has also spread to other fields that go far beyond simply operating, so currently they cover several aspects of management within the framework of the Airlines and Air Traffic Service Providers.

All of this implies, given the extent and depth of knowledge required, there is a need of a university-level education regarding its contents, both theoretical and practical, allowing the undergraduate not only working in different activities and fields specific of their activity, but also providing innovation and training for them to be integrated into future aeronautical research challenges. During the practise of their professional activity, their responsibility has been made clear, not only to ensure safety, but to efficiently manage air operations, whose training has not been included within the studies that have been conducted so far.

Holding an official university degree would facilitate access to public employment and widen their career opportunities, so it would allow them to satisfy the need in experts in operational matters both within the aeronautical authority and in the private sector.

On the other hand, companies related to air transport require multidisciplinary and highly qualified professionals. Training arising from the licencing system does not cover their minimum needs. The industry needs more competent professionals to provide more guarantees for flight safety and greater efficiency in its management. Human factors have influence in 70% of accidents. Therefore, more comprehensive and higher quality training is the basis for the pilot to make decisions and execute flight operation with more guarantees.

Finally, the aeronautical system needs to develop activities in the operational field that should be performed by experts in operational matters, both within areas of airline operation and service providers, as well as within the aeronautical authority, where currently their presence is practically non-existent and where these kinds of professionals are required for management functions.