The British Airline Pilots’ Association, the UK’s biggest pilot union, says that after a period of seeing pilots made redundant in the Covid pandemic returned to work, it is seeing some positions being filled by pilots who have not previously held commercial flying positions. 

BALPA has also welcomed the launch of two fully funded airline backed cadet programmes (at Tui and British Airways) which BALPA says opens up the profession and enhances diversity. 

It is therefore BALPA’s prediction that from 2024 for an unknown period, we will see a sustained reduction in the number of unemployed experienced pilots and an increased demand for newly qualified pilots – increased demand compared to 2022-2023 requirements.

BALPA added that it continued to remind aspiring pilots that while the outlook is positive, there are still risks to consider when entering flight training. The union has noted that the many pilot training providers are also struggling to recruit and retain staff and this is leading to significant delays and additional costs for aspiring airline pilots.

The union urges anyone embarking on training to start by visiting BALPA’s new BECOMING A PILOT- THE INSIDE TRACK webpages, to view bespoke independent advice on what it takes to make it as a pilot. 

It also advised aspiring pilots to read about its nextGen programme and campaign on flight school closures on BALPA’s campaign pages.

BALPA Interim General Secretary, Miranda Rackley said: "BALPA is delighted to be able to revise its predictions to reflect the current trends. We are seeing increased recruitment and some opportunities for not only experienced crew but also newly qualified pilots and that is certainly good news. 

“But we are aware of just how quickly a situation can change. BALPA prides itself on being a trusted voice in the industry and as such we must remind aspiring pilots of that market volatility and urge them to make sure they know the risks before embarking on training.

“BALPA’s nextGen campaign is designed to ensure we are looking after pilots right from the first steps in their career. We have bespoke  information about becoming a pilot available to all on our website and even more resources for members on the members portal. We are actively campaigning to protect trainee pilots from flight school collapses and urge any aspiring pilot to access these resources and ensure they have the best chance of landing their dream career.”