18 May 2024

A Flying Start with BA: Carrier’s £100K Pilot Training Applications Open Today

Aviation
| The European |

Prospective pilots could land their dream job today


Applications for British Airways’ second fully-funded pilot academy open this morning, Tuesday 16th April, with £100,000 worth of training up for grabs.

The British flag carrier’s Speedbird Pilot Academy programme will “level the playing field” by removing the prohibitive costs of self-funding that prevent most individuals from pursuing a career as a pilot.

Following a joint selection process, 100 lucky candidates will embark on a certified programme at one of two flight schools in the UK and Spain.

Tuition costs will be covered in full, while recruits will also have free accommodation and food during their 18-24-month training period.

Students who complete the course will then be able to join British Airways, reportedly starting as an Airbus A320 first officer serving the airline’s short-to-medium haul network.

The programme, now in its second year, attracted huge interest when it opened in 2023. More than 20,000 applications were submitted for just 100 places.

Competition for this year’s slots is expected to just as fierce. According to its website, applications “may close early” if there is significant interest, and the airline is encouraging people to apply as soon as possible.

In a statement, British Airways said: “The airline is opening the application window for the second year of its fully funded Speedbird Pilot Academy cadet scheme on Tuesday April 16, 2024. This follows an unprecedented response to its first year intake which saw more than 20,000 applications for just 100 places.


“The Speedbird Pilot Academy initiative, part of the airline’s £7 billion investment across the business, is aimed at levelling the playing field and making a career as a commercial airline pilot a realistic option for all, by removing the previously prohibitive cost barrier of individuals having to pay for their training themselves.”

Applicants must be aged 17-55 (18 years old when training starts), fluent in English, hold six GCSEs at grade A-C including maths and English and one of the sciences, and be between 1.57m (5’2″) and 1.90m (6’3″) tall.

They must also hold a valid passport, meet British Airways medical criteria, and have the right to live and work in the UK without sponsorship.

The training itself includes six to eight months of ground-based learning, six months of basic flight training, and four to six months of advanced flight training.

Applicants can choose to train Skyborne, a training academy based at Gloucestershire Airport in Cheltenham, or at FTEJerez, a flight training school in Jerez, Spain.

Simon Cheadle, British Airways’ Director of Flight Operations, said: “We’re incredibly proud to be able to open the door to a flying career to more people through this programme.

 “We know from the overwhelming response and high standard of applications we had in the first year of Speedbird Pilot Academy, that there are a lot of talented people who just need a little bit of help to achieve their dream of becoming a commercial airline pilot – and we are pleased to give them that opportunity.   

“We want to continue to attract the very best flying talent and our investment in this programme will help to ensure our future generation of pilots for years to come.”

To apply, visit https://careers.ba.com/speedbird-pilot-academy-preparation


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