Pilot Careers

British Airways taking applications for Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway

You could find yourself flying an Airbus A320neo for British Airways. Photo: BA
You could find yourself flying an Airbus A320neo for British Airways. Photo: BA

British Airways has opened the applications window for its Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway, in other words, pay your own fees as opposed to the fully-funded course.

The Pathway is open to candidates who are already or considering pilot training with one of four Approved Training Organisations (ATOs):

  • FTEJerez
  • L3 Harris
  • Leading Edge
  • Skyborne.

Candidates can apply before starting training at the ATO or after completing their ground school examinations. If training on a modular route, training must be completed within 2.5 years.

“This scheme is a rebrand of the Whitetail scheme,” said British Airways (BA). “If you have already applied through the Whitetail scheme your application will be moved, there is no need to reapply.

“The job you’ll have after satisfactorily completing the ATPL course will be as First Officer, responsible to the Commander to assist in the safe and efficient conduct of the flight. You will be based at either Gatwick with BA Euroflyer or Heathrow with British Airways flying the A320.”

Entry Criteria

  • Height between 1.57m (5ft 2in) and 1.91m (6ft 3in). Qualified pilots who are taller than 1.91m may submit an application but will be required to undergo a functionality check
  • A good level of physical fitness, and ability to satisfy the British Airways medical requirements
  • ICAO ELP Level 6 proficiency
  • A valid passport (with minimum of 12 months before expiry date at time of joining) allowing unrestricted worldwide travel
  • Tattoos are permissible as long as they are not on the hands, face or head
  • UK Class 1 flight crew medical
  • Right to live and study in the UK without sponsorship.
  • For those applying before joining the ATO, in addition to the above you require:
  • 6 GCSEs grade A-C or 5-9 including Maths, English and Science or equivalents qualifications

Training Criteria

  • First Series ATPL Ground School with an average score of 85% and above with no more than three resits
  • First series pass in both CPL and ME/IR (Series 1, Attempt 1 or Series 1, Attempt 2)
  • aUPRT
  • UK Part-FCL licence.

Full details here


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