British Airways launches Pilot Academy, fully funding their training

British Airways introduces the Speedbird Pilot Academy program, covering 100% of training costs for 60 candidates annually, making a pilot career accessible to all

British Airways aircraft
British Airways aircraft / Photographer: Jack Edwards

British Airways offers prospective pilots a unique opportunity. The new Speedbird Pilot Academy program will cover the full training cost, amounting to £100,000, for each of the 60 successful candidates annually. This move aims to eliminate financial barriers and provide equal opportunities for everyone dreaming of a pilot career.

The primary goal of this program is to make the pilot profession accessible to all segments of the population by removing high training costs.

Moreover, program participants will have their accommodation and meals paid for during the 16-month training period.

This makes the Speedbird Pilot Academy program unique in its kind, fully exempting candidates from all training-related expenses.


Sean Doyle, Chairman and CEO of British Airways, emphasized that the initiative aims to attract the best talents for the future generation of pilots. He also noted that the company flies to more than 200 destinations worldwide, making a pilot career in British Airways particularly attractive.

The program collaborates with Fantasy Wings, the leading UK organization for diversity in aviation.

Special attention is given to attracting young individuals from ethnic minorities and women.

Hannah Vaughan, Senior First Officer of British Airways and a former cadet, described the program as "groundbreaking". She emphasized the importance of attracting top candidates and removing previous barriers.

To stimulate more applications, Hannah decided to debunk some myths about the pilot profession.


For instance, many believe that to become a pilot, one needs to be wealthy or have a university degree. However, this is far from the truth. The new program offers an excellent career without the need for a degree.

Perfect vision or flying experience is also not required to participate in the program.


British Airways (BA) is the largest airline in the UK and one of the leading ones globally.

Founded in 1974, its headquarters is located in London, with its main hub at Heathrow Airport.

BA's fleet comprises over 250 aircraft, serving more than 200 destinations worldwide.

The company is a founding member of the Oneworld alliance, uniting the world's major airlines.

BA is renowned for its high service level and contributions to the aviation industry's development.


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