Skip to main content
Saved jobs
Open Search

pilot faqs banner

Pilot FAQs

Find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about becoming a British Airways pilot, including pay, working hours, and the application process.

Can I apply to British Airways, BA Euroflyer, BA Cityflyer?

You may only have one live application for any of the three airlines.

If you would like to be considered for British Airways and BA Euroflyer please apply to the British Airways vacancy and tick the box to say you would like to be considered for BA Euroflyer opportunities.

I have applied for the Integrated Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway programme with my ATO, and would like to ask a question.

Please direct any questions to your Approved Training Organisation (ATO) who will contact British Airways pilot recruitment on your behalf. We will not respond to individual queries about the programme.

I do not meet the entry requirements for the Integrated Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway programme. Can I apply anyway?

The entry requirements for the Integrated Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway programme are outlined on the job description. We will not be able to proceed with any applications that do not meet the minimum criteria listed.

The Integrated Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway programme job description says I must have an APS MCC. I have an MCC JOC. Will this be considered?

APS MCC is a requirement for the latest campaign, therefore we cannot accept any other form of MCC.

Where can I find further information about the Speedbird Pilot Academy?

We would encourage you to sign up to job alerts to ensure that you receive the latest information.
Entry criteria for the Speedbird Pilot Academy can be found on the careers website in the “Future Pilots” section.

I have an EASA licence, can I apply to British Airways?

You must have a UK Part-FCL licence to fly for British Airways.

There are no assessment dates in the system?

We will run assessment days every month and will let you know when further slots are loaded for you to book.

I have a Selection Sim coming up, can British Airways send me the details of my Sim partner?

Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, including data protection, we are currently unable to give contact details and email addresses out amongst candidates.

I was unsuccessful at a previous British Airways recruitment application, when can I reapply?

If you had stumbled at the initial online application screening stage, you would be eligible to apply again after 6 months. If you attended Waterside for any of the subsequent selection stages, the wait is 12 months from the date of testing, or six months from any other stage of application whichever is the greater.

How can I be told when the next phase of recruitment will start?

If you would like to receive an email once a specific type of position is advertised, follow the links on this site to create a job alert.

Where will I be based as a British Airways pilot?

As a British Airways pilot you will be based at London Heathrow airport. If you have applied to BA Euroflyer you will be based at London Gatwick airport.

I’m currently at school and want to know how best I can prepare myself to achieve a career as a pilot with British Airways.

A solid grounding in your academic studies is very important. For most cadet and training schemes you need a minimum of five GCSEs at grade A to C, including Mathematics, English and a science. You may also need A-Levels or the equivalent. Academic criteria is set per campaign. A degree is not essential although the success rates of candidates in previous selections tend to indicate that university graduates are at an advantage.

In addition to academic studies, British Airways looks for candidates with good hand-eye co-ordination so taking part in a wide range of sports would be advantageous. A knowledge of current affairs and the commercial aspects of aviation, and a good ability to interact well with other people, will benefit your application and your future career as an airline pilot.

No particular flying experience is required, although potential airline pilots who have endeavoured to achieve some flying or aviation experience, for example with the Air Training Corps, at a local flying club, gliding club, The Air League, Airpilots, or working at your local airport, would always be looked upon favourably by any potential training establishment or employer.

Whilst having some flying experience is a definite advantage, it is not a prerequisite to joining any British Airways scheme. To note is the fact that we are not able to accept any pilots that have completed any ATPL exams. This said, having a PPL is not a problem and gliding experience can give you a good insight to the technical side of a career as a pilot.

I have qualifications in Scotland or abroad – are these equivalent to GCSEs and A-Levels?

Like many employers, British Airways calculates the equivalent value of academic qualifications to ascertain whether the required standard has been met. Further information on how we consider these can be found on the UK ENIC website - the UK national agency for international qualifications and skills.

How long does it take to train to be a British Airways pilot?

Depending on your experience level this can vary greatly. Pilots selected for a cadet scheme generally complete their Commercial Licence training – including ground-school – with one of British Airway’s partner flight training schools in approximately 18 months. Type rating and Line training will then take up to three months to complete.

If a pilot joins with experience from another airline – then in-house specific Type training takes approximately 4-6 weeks depending on the type. The pilot will then start their ‘line-training’ on the aircraft which can take up to two months.

From what experience levels do British Airways select their pilots?

British Airways has traditionally selected pilots from three main groups; British Airways-sponsored cadets or newly graduated ‘Whitetail’ cadets from the airlines partner colleges, experienced pilots from other airlines, and military pilots looking to change careers at the end of their military engagement. We are always keen to have a mix of previous experience in our pilot community and, while specific campaigns for a particular entry scheme may or may not be running at any one time, in the long term we would look to continue recruiting our pilots from a range of backgrounds.

I wear glasses, am colour-blind or have a specific medical condition – can I still become a pilot?

All pilots with British Airways must achieve and maintain an EASA Class One Medical Certificate. Generally wearing glasses does not prevent someone from becoming a pilot, however this will be assessed by the Civil Aviation Authority Aeromedical Examiners during your initial medical examination. They will determine your suitability to hold a Class One Medical Certificate. For all questions relating to medical suitability please see the CAA website.

I am a foreign national with a non-UK Flight Crew Licence, can I join British Airways?

To work for British Airways you need the right to live and work in the United Kingdom. You will also need the ability to travel freely worldwide – including obtaining a USA Visa. On date of joining you need a current UK Part-FCL Licence, although any type-ratings you hold may be on another nation’s licence.

Can I live abroad and still be a pilot for British Airways?

As long as you can fulfil the licencing and Right to Work requirements outlined above, under certain circumstances it may be possible to live abroad and 'commute' to work. British Airways do not currently have any overseas bases for flight crew.

What will be my expected working hours or pattern while working for British Airways?

Work is allocated (or "rostered") in accordance with CAA regulations and Union agreements, which have been built up over many years. Essentially pilots bid for work on a seniority basis and once this work has been allocated crew are free to swap trips with each other provided the roster remains legal and all work remains covered. Time away from home will depend on the fleet you operate, your seniority and whether you have elected to go onto a Part Time roster. Both short haul and long haul fleets will require some time "down route", which can vary from one night to over a week on the longest trips that are operated. Some routes however will be there and back, allowing you to spend the evening back at home.

British Airways operates 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and as such you can expect to work any day of the week, as well as over Public Holidays such as Bank Holidays and Christmas/New Year.

I have some specific reasons due to my faith that may prevent me from working a normal pilot's routine, can British Airways accommodate these requirements?

British Airways employs pilots from all faiths and backgrounds and fully support everyone's right to practice their religion, however due to the nature of the job, we cannot guarantee any specific times, days or dates when a pilot will be able to carry out any specific rituals or observe rest periods. That being said, most pilots find they are able to balance the needs of the job with their beliefs without great difficulty and can use the roster system to swap duties and try to request leave and days off.

I have a criminal record – will this prevent me from becoming a pilot?

In order to be employed as a pilot with British Airways you will also be required to undergo a Criminal Record Check for every country in which you have been a resident, or worked in, for six months or more in the past three years.

If you have been cautioned, warned or convicted of a criminal offence (other than parking offences) we suggest you check whether you will be able to obtain an airside pass by visiting the UK Civil Aviation Authority website.

Will having a tattoo prevent me from becoming a pilot?

There are no specific regulations governing tattoos, although to work for British Airways and comply with Company Uniform Standards no tattoo must be visible on the face, hands, or neck (when wearing a short-sleeved shirt).

How much can I expect to earn as a pilot?

Salary and benefits for being employed as a pilot reflect the hard work and commitment, as well as disruption to lifestyles that can be expected of the high-calibre individuals that British Airways employs as flight crew. Most airlines have a discounted flight scheme, a substantial pension and other benefits, including private healthcare schemes and corporate discounts. Salary generally increases with experience and may include a portion of flight pay, for each hour or flight worked, and an overnight expense allowance. For an up-to-date summary of pilot remuneration, consult a website such as Pilot Jobs Network ... or Glassdoor.

I know someone who works for British Airways – can I use their contact to help me secure a job as a pilot with the company?

While we appreciate recommendations from staff and colleagues – all applicants must go through the full application procedure via our website. Current staff are invited to apply for any pilot position for which they qualify through jobsearch.

In preparation for becoming a pilot I would like to take part in work experience with British Airways – how can I do this?

For students who are aspiring pilots, we would suggest to look into aviation-related organisations such as The Air Training Corps or a local gliding club.

We do have a corporate work experience programme for students in full-time education. Please visit the Emerging Talent section on the careers website, and follow the link to our work experience page where you can find out more about applying for a placement with British Airways.

I am currently a military pilot – is there any special scheme I can use to apply to join British Airways?

British Airways often runs a "Managed Path" recruitment scheme to assist current military pilots with the transition to a career with the airline. Follow the links on this site to register for alerts and be informed when the next scheme commences.

Register for job alerts

Be first to find out about our latest vacancies by using job alerts. You can create an account using the link below. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to set up your vacancy alerts subscription.

Create an alert