British Airways opens applications for Speedbird Pilot Academy

British Airways will open the application window for its new Speedbird Pilot Academy on 19 September 2023.

Training with one of BA’s chosen training partners, FTEJerez and Skyborne, will begin early next year and upon completion of the course, recruits will land a full-time, salaried pilot position with the airline.

BA says the application window will remain open for a week, but “we reserve the right to change this should it be required”.

Application criteria:

  • 17-55 years of age to apply and 18 years of age to start training.
  • 6 GCSEs grade A-C or 5-9 including Maths, English and a Science or equivalent qualifications.*
  • Fluent in English (and, if applicable, an ICAO Level 6 on completion of training). For non-native English speakers, you will need to a certificate proving you have achieved International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Level 5.5 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any individual area (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking). This must be the Academic test, not General Training.
  • A valid passport which permits unrestricted worldwide travel.
  • The right to live and study in the UK without the need for sponsorship.
  • Your height must be between 1.57m (5ft 2in) and 1.90m (6ft 3in). Height is accurately determined during the assessment process. If you’re taller than 1.90m, you may submit an application, but may be required to undergo a functionality check.
  • Able to obtain and hold a UK CAA Class 1 medical with no restrictions and meet British Airways medical criteria.**
  • Before training starts, you must have completed referencing and pre-employment checks to the satisfactory standard and supply satisfactory UK and international Criminal Record Checks.

*GCSE equivalent qualifications will be accepted and assessed by ECCTIS
** Please refer to

Eleanor McBrien is a Senior First Officer, flying an Airbus A320 for British Airways

Become a BA pilot like Eleanor McBrien, a Senior First Officer flying an Airbus A320 on European short-haul routes

Behaviour as a BA pilot

“Technical skills are important,” said BA, “but it’s your behaviours as a BA pilot that will really set you apart.

“British Airways is unique, and our pilots are very passionate and enthusiastic about our purpose and the role they have in connecting Britain with the world and the world with Britain.

“You’ll need to demonstrate the passion and motivation to excel during the training programme, the ability to remain calm under pressure and a strong ability to solve problems.

“Collaborating and demonstrating you’re a team player is also essential to create incredible experiences for our customers and colleagues on board.

“In the meantime consider revising your numerical skills and have a think about what competencies and attributes we might be looking for in our future pilots. Best of luck!”

Apply here