An Early Christmas: British Airways Announce 100 Speedbird Academy Pilots

British Airways earlier this week revealed the successful candidates of its groundbreaking Speedbird Academy to 100 eager applicants today. Launched in July 2023 with a public announcement at Pilot Careers Live, this initiative marked a significant milestone as the first British Airways fully-funded airline training program in decades, joining the likes of TUI and WizzAir in their announcement. The move reflected an optimistic outlook on pilot recruitment, anticipating a surge in workforce demand by the end of the decade. Notably, the program aimed to eliminate the substantial financial barrier that often hinders aspiring pilots, with training costs reaching up to £100,000.

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News was delivered to 100 successful candidates this week © British Airways

The Application Process

The Speedbird Academy attracted an overwhelming response, receiving over 30,000 applications, with approximately 250 candidates advanced to the final round of selection. The initial application process involved three competency-based tests focusing on numeracy skills, decision-making, and workload management. Employing a cascading test format, successful completion of each stage was a prerequisite for progressing to the next. This automated process was followed by a second stage where candidates submitted video recordings for assessment by British Airways staff.

The comprehensive recruitment process comprised multiple interviews, and collaboration with partner training organizations such as FTEJerez and Skyborne, both of which will play key roles in delivering the flying training for the Speedbird Academy.

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This Week’s Announcement

Noteworthy is British Airways’ decision to twice expand the size of the final cadet pool. Initially offering 60 spaces, today’s announcement of 100 successful candidates underscores the airline’s ongoing commitment to nurturing new talent and attracting a high-quality pool of applicants.

In a statement, British Airways Chairman and CEO, Sean Doyle, said:

As we head into our busy Christmas operational period, we’ve also been busy offering places to 100 prospective pilots who have been successful in gaining a spot at our British Airways Speedbird Pilot Academy.

I want to congratulate all of our new joiners on an outstanding personal achievement, having won their places from a field of more than 20,000 applicants. They’ll begin their journey with us on our fully-funded training scheme next year.

Many of you will remember that when we launched the programme, we were initially looking for 60 trainees. It quickly became clear during the early stages of the assessment process that the standard of those applying was incredibly high, so we quickly made the decision to increase that number to 100.

I’m incredibly proud that we’ve been able to offer so many people the chance to realise their dream of becoming a commercial airline pilot without having the worry of how they’re going to pay for it.

I look forward watching our new recruits progress and joining our pilot community in 2025.

While the addition of 100 new cadet pilots bolsters British Airways’ readiness to meet future demand, insights from within the airline community suggest that the airline is poised to reopen the Speedbird Academy for new applications in 2024. Although specific numbers remain undisclosed at this stage, we’ll be there to provide the latest updates as and when they’re announced.

The successful candidates will begin training with the two partner flight-schools in April 2024, entering the British Airways flight-line in 2025.

To the 100 successful candidates, congratulations, and all the best throughout your training journey!

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Aurora Welch
Aurora Welchhttps://travelradar.aero
Aviation Reporter - Aurora is a seasoned journalist with a passion for aviation news. With over a decade of experience under her belt, she has become one of the most respected voices in the industry. Her previous roles at leading publications have given her a wealth of knowledge and a broad network of contacts in the aviation world. At Travel Radar she reports on the latest industry news and going-ons.
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