British Airways’ new Speedbird Pilot Academy will fund up to 60 places per year

  • British Airways’ new Speedbird Pilot Academy will fund up to 60 places per year at an approved flight training school, with those who pass the course offered a job as a British Airways pilot
  • The multi-million-pound initiative removes the initial high-cost barrier of training to become a professional pilot, making it a realistic option for anyone aged 18-55
  • Private training costs for aspiring pilots can cost around £100,000

British Airways has today announced that it is launching a brand-new pilot cadet program that will fund training for up to 60 aspiring pilots a year.

The creation of the British Airways Speedbird Pilot Academy will see the cost barrier of training to become an airline pilot removed, making the profession much more accessible. Successful candidates will be offered a place at an approved flight training school and, on passing the course, a position as a British Airways pilot, helping the airline to ensure it has the right levels of future flying talent for years to come.

With initial training that can cost tens of thousands of pounds, the price of becoming a pilot has made the profession prohibitive for many. This cost will now be funded by British Airways – with a multi-million-pound investment from the airline into its next generation of pilots – making it a genuine career path for all aspiring pilots.

The airline remains committed to further increasing diversity in the aviation industry and is determined to increase awareness, visibility, and applications to this new cadet programme to people from all backgrounds – not just those who can afford the initial training costs.

Successful candidates will gain a place at one of the approved flight training colleges, with all tuition costs covered by British Airways.The Speedbird Pilot Academy is one part of the airline’s wider pilot recruitment plan. British Airways continues to recruit current commercial pilots and is working with the UK Armed Forces to provide military pilots new career opportunities in commercial aviation once their agreed service period has ended.    

  • More information can be found on British Airways’ careers site
  • Applications will open in September 2023, with training planned to start in the new year
  • Applicants will need:
    • 6 GCSE’s (or equivalent), Grade A-C or 5-9 (including English, Maths and one of the Sciences)
    • To be a minimum height of 5ft 2in
    • To be aged between 18 and 55
    • To pass a UK CAA Class 1 Medical
    • British Airways currently employs approximately 4,000 pilots 
  • Once training is complete, cadets can expect to earn a starting salary of c.£34,000 per year, plus allowances
  • The airline has worked closely with Fantasy Wings, the leading UK organisation for diversity in aviation and a member of the BA Better World Community Fund, to promote careers to young people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, and young women in the aviation industry