British Airways to fund training costs of 60 prospective pilots

British Airways has made this announcement:

Prospective pilots can from today apply for a place on a new British Airways scheme that will see the £100,000 cost of their training covered entirely by the airline.

The national flag carrier’s Speedbird Pilot Academy programme will lift the previously prohibitive cost barrier of training to become an airline pilot for up to 60 successful candidates a year – helping to level the playing field and make a flying career a realistic option for all.

It is hoped that by removing the high costs associated with pilot training from the applicant, people from across all communities will be encouraged to apply.

Successful recruits will also have accommodation and food costs covered during their 16-month training period, making it the only airline scheme that removes all associated costs from the individual.

Applications for the scheme can now be submitted via the airline’s careers website, and applicants are being encouraged to apply quickly, as due to the expected unprecedented demand, will close within seven days. Training will begin early next year and upon completion of the course, recruits will land a full-time, salaried pilot position with the airline.

British Airways is working closely with Fantasy Wings, the leading UK organisation for diversity in aviation and a member of the BA Better World Community Fund, to promote the scheme to young people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, other communities around the country and young women in the aviation industry.  

To encourage more applicants to apply, Hannah’s determined to bust some of the current myths to help set straight some common misconceptions about becoming a professional airline pilot.

MYTH: You need to be rich to train as a pilot.

TRUTH: This is false. The British Airways Speedbird Pilot Academy is entirely funded by the airline.

MYTH: You can only become a pilot if you have a university degree.

TRUTH: This is false. The new cadet scheme offers a great career without the need for a degree.

MYTH: You need to have A-Level qualifications to apply for a role as a pilot.

TRUTH: False, A-Levels are not required. You just need six GCSEs to apply to the cadet scheme. (Six GCSEs grade A-C or 5-9 including Maths, English and a Science or equivalent qualifications).

MYTH: You need to be a maths or science genius.

TRUTH: A lot of people think this, but it isn’t true. As long as you meet the GCSE requirements you can apply.

MYTH: You need perfect eyesight – if you’re short-sighted you can’t apply.

TRUTH: No, you can fly for commercial airlines with glasses or contact lenses.

MYTH: You have to be under 40 to apply.

TRUTH: Anyone who will be between the ages of 18 and 55 when they start their training can apply. Everyone has an equal chance of being successful.

MYTH: If you’ve got no flying experience you’ve got no chance of being considered. You need a private pilot licence first to train as a commercial pilot.

TRUTH: Having flying experience or a private pilot licence isn’t a requirement to apply for the cadet scheme. That said, if you can, you may wish to try a short trial flight which can be in a glider or light aircraft to make sure that you enjoy the feeling of flying. There are many scholarships available which may help with this.