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BALPA advice to aspiring pilots as UK aviation faces another tough winter.   

BALPA advice to aspiring pilots as UK aviation faces another tough winter. 

Although the industry is seeing the first green shoots of recovery the recruitment market for pilots is still difficult and there is tough competition. That’s the message from the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) to those considering the profession ahead of the Pilot Careers Live event this weekend.

The union says there are 2,000 unemployed commercial pilots in the UK and issued a warning to those thinking about embarking on a pilot training course that finding a job at the end may be difficult. BALPA says the next six months will provide a better indicator of the employment landscape for the next two years and urged people to research the job market and consider all options before committing to training courses.

Wendy Pursey, Head of Membership and Careers Services at BALPA said:

“For many people a career in flying is a life-long dream, but it is important to understand the current job market before embarking on training- or that dream could easily become a nightmare.

“This weekend those who are looking to join the profession will be looking for information about the industry and at BALPA, we feel it is our duty to ensure they are presented with a realistic assessment of the current difficult recruitment environment.

“COVID-19 has hit aviation hard and many experienced pilots are out of work. It means there is huge competition for each job. At this stage there is tentative movement towards recovery, but it remains a fragile position.

“It is vital that anyone wanting to take the first steps in a piloting career really researches the current job market and considers this position when paying upwards of £100,000 for training. They may find there are no or limited jobs available at the end. Pilot Careers Live is an opportunity to ask difficult questions and trainees should not shy away from this.

“They should also look to take advantage of BALPA’s free nextGen membership which gives members access to the wider pilot community and BALPA resources.


About BALPA nextGen 

BALPA’s nextGen programme aims to help protect the profession by reaching down to these new entrants and giving them a voice.

We offer free nextGen Associate Membership to trainee pilots to welcome them into the pilot family and provide mentoring and support from experienced pilots.

Pilot Careers Live