The first group of easyJet pilots on the airline-supported BSc (Hons) Professional Aviation Pilot Practice (PAPP) degree have now graduated.

The degree course was launched in 2013 in a partnership between L3 Commercial Training Solutions (L3 CTS), Middlesex University and easyJet.

The seven pilots who have now graduated are the first of over 130 students currently enrolled on the Middlesex University degree course while completing or having completed their airline pilot training at L3’s Airline Academy.

The PAPP degree is awarded by Middlesex University and run through the Institute of Work-based Learning. It doesn’t require cadets to attend a university campus and enables them to gain two professional qualifications (airline transport pilot licence and degree) within three years.

The first two years of the course are completed at L3’s Airline Academy, through training on an airline pilot career programme alongside parallel, practice-based university work. Study continues beyond their initial airline pilot training once they join easyJet, flying as a co-pilot while completing their third and final year of the degree, allowing them to learn while they fly.

Brian Tyrrell, easyJet's Head of Flight Operations, commented, “It is absolutely vital to easyJet’s future that we have a pipeline of talented young pilots coming through. L3’s Airline Academy graduates join easyJet as co-pilots and once they have completed their first year with us they can then join easyJet as permanent employees. After flying for a further two years and reaching 2500 hours with easyJet they then become Senior First Officers. From that stage, the aim is to achieve their Command and become Captains.

“With easyJet’s continued planned growth the time taken from First Officer to Captain is likely to be quicker than at other airlines,” Tyrell continued. “Beyond that there are further opportunities for pilots to develop their career whether that is into a training or management role. What this means is that those pilots joining easyJet now could well be looking at achieving their Command within 6 years.”

Newly graduated easyJet pilot, Anna McGrady, explained, “The degree is designed in a way that fits very well into the flight training schedule, with no degree modules required at key pressure points – for example, during the 14 ATPL exams that all pilots undertake. The degree course also qualifies students for a student loan, which helps towards the costs of commercial pilot training.”