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British Airways In UK Pilot Training Shock! Up To 800 New Pilots In The Next Five Years?
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British Airways In UK Pilot Training Shock! Up to 800 New Pilots In the Next Five Years?

The British Airways announcement to recruit new pilots is really lazy. It’s just taking the low hanging fruit of re-training highly competent ex military pilots, laid off by the UK government, and poaching from other airlines. There will be some new recruits too, but these lucky individuals will;

  • All be young (anyone would think the uk pilot training industry hated experience)
  • Have to pay back their training costs during their ongoing careers with the airline.

It’s only 2 years since the national carrier laid off over 100 pilots due to the downturn. With their pilot workforce then at around 3,200, these new 800 are really about filling in the gaps left by those who are forced to retire when they reach the compulsory age of 60.

Many in the industry wonder if there ever will be a system where the best pilots really can get a job with a major airline. At present, with the few exceptions from the above, it’s those with the money who can afford to train themselves who can then fly for a living.

With a requirement to shell out close to £100,000 to get yourself through the required training, it’s little wonder that the list of new recruits will be constrained by finance rather than ability. Yes, there are bursaries and some airlines help with costs towards training, but these opportunities are relatively rare in the pilot training market. So if you are:

  • over 30 years of age
  • Have less than 1000 hours in your log book
  • Are not prepared to sell your soul to an airline for the rest of your career

You don’t really have a chance to fly for a living with a big commercial carrier. They are comfortable in the knowledge that all they have to do is pick from the very best of the crop of your naive hopefuls who queue up for a job with them and will jump through every hoop placed in their way.

I know that this sounds a negative whinge, Let me just point out that this is not because I want to be a BA employee. in my own circumstances I would never be able to fly commercially as I cannot hold a Class 1 medical due to lack of stereo vision. This is a minor eye sight problem that I have always had, so I knew when I got into flying it was always going to be for fun rather than for a living.

It’s just so disappointing to know so many highly competent pilots, who will never get a chance to fly for a living, because the UK Pilot Training industry regards them as too old at 30+


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  about 1 decade ago
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