Are UK Airlines Doing Everything To Tackle Demand for Pilots?

Are UK Airlines Doing Everything To Tackle Demand for Pilots?
Photo Credit: British Airways.

British Airways has this week announced plans to fund training costs for 60 prospective pilots. Are UK airlines doing all they can to tackle the increased needs for such pilots?

This £6m investment that the airline is making follows along from TUI’s MPL Cadet program that has started over the course of this year.

Without further ado, let’s get into it…

The Announcement from British Airways…

Are UK Airlines Doing Everything To Tackle Demand for Pilots?
Photo Credit: British Airways.

Known as the Speedbird Pilot Academy, British Airways is fully covering the cost of training for up to 60 new pilots to enter the business.

Successful recruits will have accommodation and food costs covered during their training period, which is expected to last around 16 months.

Commenting on this was Sean Doyle, the CEO & Chairman of British Airways:

“The Speedbird Pilot Academy will make the ambition of becoming a British Airways pilot a reality for people who’d previously written the option off because of the cost barrier.

“Our aim is to attract the very best talent out there for our future generation of pilots.”

“Whether someone is just leaving school or embarking on a second career they never thought possible, we’re levelling the playing field by removing the initial training cost barrier to make a flying career more accessible to a wider range of people and giving everyone an equal chance.”

“We fly to more than 200 destinations around the world on a range of aircraft types, providing pilots with an abundance of opportunities and making a career as a British Airways pilot extremely rewarding.”

“This first-in-a-generation initiative will allow anyone to make it a reality.”

More Demand For Pilots Upcoming: BALPA…

Are UK Airlines Doing Everything To Tackle Demand for Pilots?
Photo Credit: British Airways.


Over the summer, the British Air Line Pilots Association (BALPA) talked about their position on flight training.

They do not accept the claims that there is a worldwide pilot shortage, but they anticipate a demand for newly qualified pilots, with this increasing compared to 2020-2022 requirements.

British Airways isn’t the only carrier looking to tackle this demand, however.

Back in February, it was revealed that leisure carrier TUI would offer a new cadet scheme, of which this has begun already in terms of training.

Such a scheme is also fully-funded, which is helping bridge the gaps and encourage more opportunity for those who don’t have £100,000 lying around to complete such training.

So Are UK Airlines Doing Everything They Can To Tackle The Upcoming Pilot Demand?

Photo Credit: British Airways.

Overall, it remains clear that strong efforts are being made by airlines in the UK. Whether it be the cadet program through TUI, or the Speedbird Pilot Academy through British Airways, steps are being made.

Looking ahead, however, there needs to be a significant focus into the cost of such flight training, especially if the industry has any shortages of pilots in the long-term.

Organisations need to start challenging the theory that £100,000 is a realistic amount of money that people can save for such flight training.

Making it cheaper will make it more accessible, meaning that the talent pool will therefore grow in due course.

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By James Field - Editor in Chief 4 Min Read
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