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British Airways Offers to Foot $100k Training Bill for Prospective Pilots


A British Airways A320neo landing. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

British Airways announced on Monday that it plans to help some prospective pilots pay for flight training in full. A tightening pilot shortage coupled with increasing travel demand has forced many air carriers to think differently about pilot recruitment. Consulting group OliverWyman expects the aviation sector to be short nearly 80,000 pilots by 2032.

According to a press release, British Airways will fund training for up to 60 successful candidates per year as part of its Speedbird Pilot Academy program. The airline will also fund associated living expenses, such as housing and food, during the 16-month training period.

“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,” added British Airways CEO Sean Doyle in a press release.

How to Apply

The airline says anyone between the ages of 18 and 55 when they start their training can apply for the program. No prior flying experience is necessary. Upon completion of training, successful trainees will receive a fully-salaried position with the airline.

Applications are available via the British Airways career page.

Airlines around the globe continue to reinvent the wheel in tackling the pilot shortage. United Airlines opened its own flight academy outside of Phoenix, Ariz. in 2022. Many ultra-low-cost carriers, including Spirit and Frontier, have forged relationships with flight schools and universities to directly hire new pilots.

Ryan Ewing
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  • Ryan Ewing

    Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport/airline operations while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with an MBA. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. Ryan works for AirlineGeeks' owner FLYING Media, spearheading coverage in the commercial aviation space.

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