Become a British Airways Pilot in 2024 (Full Guide)

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British Airways is one of the reputed airlines in the world that is also listed in the Top 20 Best Airlines of 2021 by Skytrax World Airline Awards. Flying as a professional pilot for British Airways is one of the best career choices because it is high earning and respected job in the aviation industry.

This informative article is for you if you are also planning to become a British Airways pilot and enhance your flying career. We have included almost every piece of information including requirements, recruitment process, salary, benefits and much more.

So, without further delay, let’s get started.

About British Airways

IdentityNational Flag Carrier of the United Kingdom
World’s 11th Best Airline of 2021 (Skytrax World Airline Awards)
IATA CODEBA
ICAOBAW
Call SignSPEEDBIRD
HubLondon-Heathrow Airport (LHR)London-Gatwick Airport (LGW)
FleetOver 250 aircraft
Boeing 777-300
Airbus A350-1000
Airbus A380-800
Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Boeing 777-200
Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
Airbus A321-200
Airbus A320-200
Embraer E190
Airbus A319-100
DestinationOver 160 international destinations in 60 countries.
Codeshare AgreementsAlaska Airlines, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, China Southern Airlines and much more.

How to Become a British Airways Pilot?

At British Airways, you can become a pilot with four different approaches.

  • BA CityFlyer Pilots (Direct Entry Captains and First Officer)
  • Direct Entry Experienced Pilots
  • British Airways Cadet Pilot Program
  • Direct Entry Pilot Military Scheme

Now, let’s explore all these opportunities in detail.

BA CityFlyer Pilots (Direct Entry Captains and First Officer)

British Airways (BA) CityFlyer is a British regional airline that is a wholly-owned subsidiary of British Airways. You can apply for the Direct Entry Captain or First Officer at CityFlyer and continue your piloting career.

There are different requirements for a Direct Entry Captain and First Officer.

Requirements for Direct Entry CaptainRequirement for First Officer
A minimum of 4,000 hours of total flight time including 1,500 hours as PIC of a commercial jet/turboprop multi-crew aircraft with take-off weight greater than 20T. (Note: PICUS won’t be counted as PIC)Must hold a Valid UK EASA License (or converted by start date)
Must hold Valid UK EASA License (or converted by start date)Must hold Valid UK EASA License (or converted by start date)
Must have a recent MPA rating on an aircraft in excess of 20T MTOM.Must have current MPA rating on an aircraft in excess of 10T MTOM
Must possess valid Multi-Engine Instrument Rating (MEIR).Must hold a valid Multi-Engine Instrument Rating (MEIR)
Must obtain a Class 1 Medical certificate valid for 6 months after the date of joining. Must acquire a Class 1 Medical certificate valid for 6 months after the date of joining.
Must achieve a minimum ICAO English Language Proficiency Level 6.Must acquire at least ICAO English Language Proficiency Level 4.
Must hold a valid passport with a minimum validity of 12 months.Must have a valid passport with at least 12 months of validity.
Must obtain legal authorization to live and work in the United Kingdom.Must hold legal authorization to live and work in the United Kingdom.

Apply as an Experienced Pilot

If you are already an experienced pilot and hold an aircraft type rating on any British Airways fleet, you can apply as an experienced pilot.

Here are the basic requirements required to apply as an experienced pilot.

Note: Aircraft Rating Requirements differ per campaign. You need to check the vacancy for exact rating requirements.

  • Applicants must hold a current UK-issued EASA Flight Crew License.
  • Must hold a valid passport with at least 12 months of validity.
  • Must obtain legal authorization to live and work in the United Kingdom.
  • Must have obtained ICAO English Language Proficiency Level 6.
  • Must possess a good level of physical fitness along with EASA Class 1 Medical.
  • The height requirement is between 1.57m (5’2”) and 1.91m (6’3”). BMI must be in the normal range.
  • Those candidates with heights exceeding 1.91m will be required to undergo a functionality check.

Direct Entry Pilot Military Scheme

If you are an experienced pilot from the Army Air Corps, Royal Air Force, Royal Marines, or Royal Navy, you can become a British Airways pilot via the Direct Entry Pilot Scheme (Managed Path/UK Service Pilot).

The national flag carrier will allow military pilots to choose a variety of fleet types and routes. As per the airline, selected military pilots for the BA pilot position will become a leader and role models to the onboard crew.

So, what are the requirements to apply for the BA Direct Entry Pilot Military Scheme? Let’s find it below.

  • Applicants must have completed minimum service as an experienced military pilot.
  • Must hold a valid passport with at least 12 months of validity.
  • Must obtain legal authorization to work and live in the United Kingdom.
  • Must have obtained ICAO English Language Proficiency Level 6.
  • A good level of physical fitness is required including EASA Class 1 Medical.
  • The height of applicants must be between 1.57m (5’2”) and 1.91m (6’3”). BMI must lie in the normal range.
  • Applicants with a height exceeding 1.91m can apply however, they must undergo a functionality check for confirmation.
  • Must be able to obtain a UK-issued EASA Flight Crew License.
  • A minimum of 1500 hours of flying hours is required on any service aircraft.

British Airways Pilot Recruitment Process

british airways pilot hiring process aviatechchannel

If you meet all the basic qualifications, you are eligible to apply for the pilot vacancy at British Airways. As per your individual qualification, you can choose Captain, First Officer, Military Scheme or experienced pilot options.

You can go through the following processes to apply.

  • First of all, you need to visit the BA Careers website and submit an online application form if vacancies are available. You might require to submit the necessary documents and information along with the application form.
  • The airline recruitment team will review your application as part of the initial screening process. If you manage to pass this initial process, you will be invited to attend the first selection day.
  • The selection process is conducted for two days at the BA Recruitment Center near London Heathrow Airport (LHR). The first day consists of Right to Work Check, aptitude tests, numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, and computer-based capacity assessment. On the other hand, the second day of the hiring process includes group exercises and personal interviews which are available to applicants passing the first day tests.
  • After successful completion of the second assessment day, you will go through a simulator test conducted at the BA Flight Training Center near LHR. 
  • Once you manage to pass all the assessments, you will be selected for the BA pilot position. Before getting a job contract, you have to pass the pre-employment checks including medical exams, drug tests, criminal checks, and much more.

British Airways Cadet Pilot Program

British Airways also offers Cadet Pilot Program to aspiring aviation enthusiasts. This program will take cadets with little or no experience to the First Officer’s seat in a short period of time. 

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The BA Cadet Pilot Program includes two approaches; Multi Pilots License (MPL) and Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL).

Let’s find out the eligibility requirements for the BA Cadet Pilot Program.

MPL RouteATPL Route
Age: At least 17 years for applying and 18 years of age to begin training.Age: Minimum 17 years to apply and 18 years to start training.
Must hold a valid passport with permission to travel in and out of the UK.Must hold a valid passport with authorization to travel in and out of the UK.
Minimum C/4 and over 112 UCAS points on GCSE Maths, English and Science.Must fulfill BA Medical Criteria and obtain EASA Class 1 Medical Certificate.
Fluency in the English Language.(IELTS 5.5 with 5.5 on every band required for non-native English Speakers)Proficiency in the English Language is a must. (A minimum of IELTS 5.5 overall with 5.5 on every band required for non-native English speakers).
Must hold legal authorization to live and work in the United KingdomApplicants must obtain legal authorization to work and stay in the United Kingdom.
Must fulfil BA Medical Criteria and obtain EASA Class 1 Medical Certificate.EASA Class 1 Medical Certificate must be obtained and also satisfy BA medical requirements.
Must be able to pass pre-employment checks.Must pass the pre-employment checks.

How to apply for the BA Cadet Pilot Program?

You can submit an online application from the BA Careers website and if selected, you have to undergo various tests including judgment tests, numerical tests, aptitude testing, verbal reasoning, group tasks, competency-based interview, and much more.

After completing all the assessments, you will be invited to a final stage assessment conducted by the British Airways Selection Team at BA Head Office near London Heathrow.

British Airways Pilot Uniform

british airways pilot uniform aviatechchannel

How much does a British Airways pilot make?

New Pilots at British Airways earn an average of £54,000 (US$70,618) per year and it can range from £25,000(US$32,693) to over £150,000 (US$196,161) depending upon the seniority level.

British Airways Pilot Salary Per Month

Talking about the monthly salary, BA pilots can earn an average of £4,500 (US$5,884) per month. The monthly salary can range from £2,083 (US$2,724) to £12,500 (US$16,346).

British Airways Pilot Benefits

Besides basic salary, BA pilots enjoy various benefits and perks.

  • Company-funded Conversion Course/Type Rating
  • Loss of License Scheme
  • Life Insurance Facility
  • 30 days annual leave
  • Extensive British Airways worldwide Staff Travel Benefits
  • Free Airport Parking at Heathrow
  • Discounts at hotels, retail stores, and car hire
  • Company Pension Scheme
  • Access to British Airways Health Services
  • Free Medical and License Renewals
  • Investment in ongoing training and development
  • Discount on the Heathrow Express

Conclusion on Becoming British Airways Pilot

Till the end of this blog, we discovered almost every detail of becoming a British Airways pilot. Among the 4 different options, you can choose the appropriate route to become a professional BA Pilot and enhance your flying career.

In conclusion, embarking on the journey to become a British Airways pilot is an exciting and rewarding endeavor. The path may be challenging, but the satisfaction of soaring through the skies and being a part of one of the world’s most renowned airlines is well worth the dedication and effort.

Remember, the road to becoming a British Airways pilot requires a combination of education, training, skill development, and determination. From obtaining the necessary qualifications and licenses to honing your flying skills, each step is crucial in shaping you into a capable and confident pilot.

As you set your sights on this illustrious career, keep in mind that the aviation industry is dynamic and constantly evolving. Stay curious, adaptable, and committed to continuous learning throughout your journey.

Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much do British Airways pay pilots?

British Airways Pilot earns an average starting salary of £54,000 (US$70,618) per year and it can range from £25,000(US$32,693) to over £150,000 (US$196,161) depending upon the seniority level.

Do you need a degree to be a pilot for British Airways?

You require GCSE Maths, English, and Science or an equivalent level of education to be a pilot for British Airways.

Are pilots in demand in the UK?

A pilot is one of the most demanding jobs across the globe. Various researchers have forecasted the global shortage of pilots in the next decade. With that, we can estimate the increase in demand for pilots worldwide. So, pilots in the UK will also be in higher demand.

Does British Airways hire foreign pilots?

British Airways typically has a preference for recruiting British citizens as pilots, although they do consider foreign pilots for certain situations. For instance, they might consider hiring foreign pilots who possess experience in operating the specific aircraft types used by British Airways. Additionally, they may also opt to bring on board foreign pilots who are proficient in multiple languages.

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Suman Karki
Suman Karki is the founder of the AviaTech Channel blog and YouTube Channel. He is a passionate aviation enthusiast and holds experience working as a Ground Operations Officer for Swissport International. He is currently serving as a Flight Data Feeder for FlightAware (a US-based company for Flight Tracking). Besides, he has worked as an aviation content editor for various aviation media.

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