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Location London Gatwick

Every 90 seconds, a British Airways aircraft takes off from somewhere around the globe. Our pilots take millions of customers to hundreds of amazing international destinations every year, doing it in one of the most modern and fuel-efficient fleets of any airline in the world. Wherever they’re travelling to, our Captains and First Officers take great pride in creating unique experiences for our customers and extending a big British welcome to everyone who flies with us. It’s part of our identity as the nation’s flag carrier, and it’s what makes us different.


Reference 9004 Closing date 30/6/2024 Brand British Airways Career area Pilots Business area Future Pilots Location London Gatwick

Job Description

Speedbird Self-sponsored Pathway with ATO

Download Job Description

As the nation’s flag carrier, we take great pride in connecting Britain with the world and the world with Britain.

It’s something we’ve been doing for over 100 years, ever since we launched the world’s first international scheduled air service between London and Paris.

This originality has been in our blood since day one. It’s the spirit we share with the people that fly with us, our partners, and our colleagues.

So, whether you are a reassuring voice on the end of a phone, a smile at the door, under a wing keeping the turbines spinning or landing us gently in far-flung places, a job at British Airways is yours to make.

We know great things can happen when you’re inspired to think big and bring your ambition to work every day, which is why, at British Airways the sky is never the limit.

Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway

  • For Candidates who are training at one of our approved training organisations (ATO) (FTEJerez, L3 Harris, Leading Edge or Skyborne) can apply before starting training at the ATO or after completing their ground school examinations. If training on a modular route, training must be completed within 2.5 years.
  • This scheme is a rebrand of the Whitetail scheme, if you have already applied through the Whitetail scheme you application will be moved, there is no need to reapply.

What you’ll do on successful completion of your training:

  • The First Officer is responsible to the Commander to assist in the safe and efficient conduct of the flight.
  • Maintain familiarity with such provisions of the company Operations Manual as are necessary to fulfil the role of First Officer.
  • Assist the Commander as requested, concerning operational and administrative duties in relation to the flight.
  • Support the Commander in the maintenance of a proper standard of crew discipline, conduct and personal appearance.

Where you’ll be based on successful completion of your training:

  • You will be based at either Gatwick with BA Euroflyer or Heathrow with British Airways flying the A320

What you’ll bring to British Airways:

  • Passionate about a career as a pilot with British Airways
  • Comfortable with taking control of own learning and professional development, and both willing and able to self-study, and continue to develop as a safety conscious professional pilot for the duration of the flying career
  • Comfortable operating a busy schedule, with BA flights operating 365 days a year
  • Comfortable working with colleagues and customers from all cultures and nationalities, and able to identify, and work, with cultural differences
  • Genuine enthusiasm for our customers, and finding ways to exceed their expectations when they fly with us
  • Able to put our customers' needs at the heart of all decision making, and will be comfortable dealing with our customers face to face both when things are going to plan, but also when they're not

Entry Criteria:

  • Height will be between 1.57m (5'2") and 1.91m (6'3") (height is accurately determined during the assessment process). Qualified pilots who are taller than 1.91m may submit an application but will be required to undergo a functionality check to confirm their ability to meet the requirements of the seating positions in the British Airways fleet of aircraft
  • A good level of physical fitness, and ability to satisfy the British Airways medical requirements
  • ICAO ELP Level 6 proficiency
  • A valid passport (with minimum of 12 months before expiry date at time of joining) allowing unrestricted worldwide travel
  • Visible tattoos are not permitted whilst in uniform. Tattoos are permissible as long as they are not on the hands, face, neck or head
  • UK Class 1 flight crew medical
  • Right to live and study in the UK without sponsorship

For those applying before joining the ATO, in addition to the above you require:

  • 6 GCSEs grade A-C or 5-9 including Maths, English and Science or equivalents qualifications

Training Criteria:

  • First Series ATPL Ground School with an average score of 85% and above with no more than three resits
  • First series pass in both CPL and ME/IR (Series 1, Attempt 1 or Series 1, Attempt 2)
  • aUPRT
  • UK Part-FCL licence

What we offer:

We believe that all the people who work with us should feel valued for the part they play. It’s one of the reasons our rewards go far beyond a competitive salary.

From the day you join us, you’ll get access to brilliant staff travel benefits including unlimited basic and premium standby tickets on British Airways flights. You’ll also receive up to 30 discounted ‘Hotline’ airfares per year for yourself, friends, and family.

At British airways you’ll have the chance to take on new challenges and move forward in a way that feels right for you. We encourage all those who work for us to consider opportunities right across our business to help you develop and progress.

We never stand still, and we don’t expect our people to either.

Inclusion & Diversity

We recognise that all our colleagues are uniquely different and bring their own originality, creativity, and identity to work. We encourage people from all backgrounds to be part of our journey to become a Better BA.

** We reserve the right to close the vacancy at any time subject to requirements.

Additional information

You can only apply to one ATO. If you have already attended an assessment at one of the ATO's or have an assessment booked this can be used for your SSP application.

The selection process:

  • Online application with application question/ If any questions are not relevant to you please answer N/A
  • Online testing, situational judgement and maths test*
  • Pre-recorded Video Interview
  • ATO assessment
  • British Airways assessment, testing, group and interview

* Before you start the testing ensure you are somewhere quiet with a steady internet connection. The Situational Judgement test is not timed, take your time to read the full questions before answering. The maths test is timed you have 15 minutes to answer 25 questions, we recommend to practice ahead of taking the test.

You can only apply to either the Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway or the Speedbird Pilot Academy at any given time. If you are unsuccessful for either scheme you can reapply in 12 months’ time. 

** If you are a current colleague, please apply through Jobsearch **


Inspired to fly

Our incredible and diverse team of pilots are driven by passion. Find out what it means to embark on a career in the skies with British Airways.

Success Profile

It takes something special to work for the nation's flag carrier. Here are some of the qualities we're looking for in a British Airways Pilot.

  • Responsible
  • Resilient
  • Committed
  • Customer orientated
  • Adaptable
  • Inspiring
Why british airways

Why British Airways?

Change is always in the air at British Airways. Our story is one of endless innovation and transformation, and our pilots play a huge part in helping us evolve. It’s not just that they’re flying some of the most technologically-advanced aircraft to an ever-expanding network of destinations around the world. We empower our colleagues to take ownership of their role, push original ideas forward and find new ways to help us serve our passengers – all while delivering the exceptional service that our customers expect.

We also recognise that every one of our pilots - from our newest Cadet to most experienced Captain - has had their own unique journey to the flightdeck. We celebrate these differences and always encourage our people to showcase their individual personalities and skills. However, we also understand what unites us; a pride to wear the iconic British Airways uniform, and a dedication to delivering excellence in everything we do. In return, we make sure our colleagues feel truly valued for who they are and what they contribute.

Career Path

  • Senior First Officer
  • Captain
  • Training Co-Pilot/Captain
  • Training Standards Captain
  • Management roles
  • Project work: Recruitment/ Training/Sustainability
  • Operational management
Lovjinder G.

British Airways is a diverse airline, and I've had the pleasure of working with many different people from all types of backgrounds. There are many perks to the job, from new challenges, to exploring the world but, particularly, being able to be involved in projects outside of the flight deck.

Lovjinder G.

Senior First Officer

Rewards & Benefits

Staff travel

Staff travel

You’ll get access to discounted ‘Hotline’ tickets for yourself, friends, and family from day one, along with unlimited standby and premium standby fares for you and your nominees and an Annual Bookable Concession on completion of six months of service.



We offer a market-leading defined contribution (DC) pension. Enrolled at 2% employee contributions and 7% employer with an option to increase.



We’ll pay the cost of an annual membership upfront, which will then be deducted from your pay over 12 months. Colleagues on a permanent contract will be eligible for this benefit after three months.

Flexible benefits

Flexible benefits

Choose from benefits including critical illness cover, childcare vouchers, cycle to work, additional life insurance cover, private medical insurance, dental plan, and healthcare cash plan.

Electric car scheme

Electric car scheme

Colleagues can access a brand new, fully maintained and insured electric car for a fixed monthly amount. Available through salary sacrifice offering tax and NI savings. You’ll be eligible for this benefit after 12 months.

Heathrow Express

Heathrow Express

Whether you are commuting to Heathrow or heading off on holiday, you’ll be entitled to buy Express Saver tickets with a 75% discount.

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