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On World Pilots’ Day, UK pilots’ association says pilots do a great job but would not necessarily recommend it

As pilots around the globe mark World Pilots’ Day today (26th April), the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) is highlighting the hard work and dedication of pilots facing the challenges of modern-day aviation.

A survey of 810 BALPA members found that while 98% of pilots are proud of their role only 61% would now recommend it as a career.

Separately, pilots have told BALPA that exhausting hours, diminishing benefits, huge training debts and airlines trying to cut costs have vastly changed the realities of a pilot’s job.

They are expecting this summer to be busier than ever and they’re feeling the effect of controversial new European rules that were introduced in February 2016.

BALPA says that some rosters now see pilots landing planes after being awake for up to 20 hours.

Brian Strutton, BALPA General Secretary, said:

“British pilots are extremely proud of the job they do. Newcomers to the profession show their dedication by taking on huge debts of up to £100,000 for initial training and face a job which is one of the most scrutinised in the world.

“Long gone are the days where pilots would spend many days downroute in exotic places; time between flights is now often barely enough for them to get a good sleep before having to come back.

“Changing shift patterns take a toll on sleeping routines leaving pilots with the worst rosters completely burnt out.

“Part-time working requests are at an all-time high as some struggle to cope with the roster patterns and lead a normal life.

“While pilots are still very proud of the job they do, many are feeling the pressure of increased cost-cutting and greater uncertainty in the industry.

“BALPA is working hard with airlines to ensure hours are more manageable and protect terms and conditions.

“We believe they should recognise the stellar work of their pilots, and the professionalism and skill they demonstrate.”