Speedbird PATHWAYS by British Airways

frequently asked questions

You will find much of the information you need about the British Airways Speedbird Pathways within these pages. However we have pulled out some frequently asked questions below.

SPEEDBIRD PILOT ACADEMY (spa)

We have been informed that the application window will reopen on 16th April 2024. To receive a notification, you can register your interest on the British Airways careers page and you will receive job alerts. 

British Airways has provided some information on how you can prepare for your application. 

The Situational Judgement Test forms part of the interview – read the question in full and consider what answer British Airways would expect from their pilots. You may wish to do further reading about behaviours that pilots use to be successful in the role.

Maths Test – BBC Bitesize is the best place to practice your maths. The Maths test is timed you need to work quickly and accurately from the multiple choice options.

Checking Test – you will be presented with a body of information and asked to confirm whether the information is correct or incorrect. Make sure to read the question in full.

Technical skills are important, but it’s your behaviours as a British Airways pilot that will really set you apart. British Airways is unique, their pilots are very passionate and enthusiastic about their 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 British Airways customers and colleagues on board.

Technical skills are important, but it’s your behaviours as a British Airways pilot that will really set you apart. British Airways is unique, and their pilots are very passionate and enthusiastic about British Airways’ 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 customers and colleagues on board.

British Airways will aim to respond to applicants as swiftly as possible. Due to the expected volumes you might take up to 2 weeks for a response. Please be patient as all applicants will receive a response.

Due to the anticipated response levels to the Speedbird Pilot Academy, British Airways are unable to provide individual feedback. 

Yes, British Airways are fully-funding the programme for successful applicants to obtain their fATPL.

As well as funding your training through fATPL, British Airways will also provide accommodation, food allowance and subsistence allowance. British Airways will also fund your Class 1 Medical.

Yes, British Airways will be funding the Class 1 Medical which is required before course commencement.

This is a fully-funded fATPL programme.

You must:
• be aged 17 – 55 years of age to apply, and 18 years of age to start training. You must have turned 18 by 1st January 2025 to apply. 

• hold 6 GSCEs grade A-C or 5-9 including Maths, English and a Science or equivalent qualification

• be fluent in English (and, if applicable, an ICAO Level 6 on completion of training). For non-native English speakers, you will need 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.

• Hold a valid passport which permits unrestricted worldwide travel

• Be between 1.57m (5’2”) and 1.90m (6’3”) tall. Height is accurately determined during the assessment process. If you are taller than 1.90m, you may submit an application, but may be required to undergo a functionality test.

• Be able to obtain and hold a UK CAA Class 1 medical with no restrictions and meet British Airways medical criteria

• Before training starts, complete referencing and pre-employment checks to the satisfactory standard and supply satisfactory UK and international Criminal Record Checks.

You can be 17 when you apply, but you must turn 18 before 1st January 2025 (if your 18th birthday is on 1st January 2025 or after 1st January 2025 you will need to apply in future application windows). You must be between 18 and 55 before training starts.

You must be a minimum height of 5ft 2in.

You must have 6 GCSE’s (or equivalent), Grade A-C or 5-9 (including English, Maths and one of the Sciences). If you hold equivalent qualifications, British Airways will be in a position to check your equivalency so please ensure you enter your qualifications as they appear on your certificates.

No, you can apply and start training with zero flight experience, however we suggest a 30-minute flight lesson in advance.

If you have completed or partially completed your PPL then you are still eligible for the programme. Please note that there will be no alleviation on the number of hours that you have to complete. If you have started your ATPL Theoretical Knowledge exams then you are considered over qualified for this opportunity.

Yes as long as you have the right to live and study in the UK for 6 months without sponsorship

If you know the exam board you took your exams through, you can obtain this information online. If you don’t know the exam board, the school you attended may be able to assist.

For further information, visit https://www.gov.uk/replacement-exam-certificate

There is a lot that you can do to help prepare for your assessment process. Firstly, research is key. It is important that you understand the role of a commercial pilot with British Airways and responsibilities involved. It is also important that you can demonstrate your motivation towards this career and why you believe you are suitable for this exciting opportunity.

Aptitude testing is an area that also can be prepared for. Skyborne use AON online testing and practice assessments can be accessed at the following link to give you practice questions, as well as hints and tips. https://assessment.aon.com/en-us/prepare-your-assessment

Consider the non technical aspects also. At group exercise and interview your communication, team work and leadership, amongst others, will be discussed and observed. These are all key qualities necessary to be successful as a commercial pilot.

Unfortunately, as the volume of applications is anticipated to be high, applicants will not receive feedback across all stages. Only those that are unsuccessful at the final British Airways stage will receive feedback.

Places are limited to 10 per course, if successful British Airways will discuss an appropriate start date with you.

Skyborne is an approved training organisation for the British Airways Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway. This programme is for cadets self-sponsoring their own training and is another route to the airline outside of the Speedbird Pilot Academy. Register your interest in the Integrated ATPL programme with Skyborne in order to progress your career. This is a self-funded course.

Yes – upon successful completion of the selection process, you will receive a conditional job offer from British Airways, outlining the performance standards expected through training with Skyborne.

British Airways has selected Skyborne Airline Academy as the only UK approved training partner for the Speedbird Pilot Academy. In addition, Skyborne is an approved training organisation for the British Airways Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway. This programme is for cadets self-sponsoring their own training and is another route to the airline outside of the Speedbird Pilot Academy.

The full training schedule with Skyborne can be found HERE

Yes, as part of the British Airways agreement, all trainees will be accommodated by Skyborne, working and living alongside other Speedbird Academy trainees and Skyborne Integrated ATPL trainees.

You make your application directly to British Airways and you will be asked what your preferred flight training school is as part of this process.

The full training schedule and locations can be found HERE

No, this is a full-time training course.

No, as a full-time training course, you will be expected to attend Ground School phases in person.

You could be based at London Heathrow, Gatwick or City airports.

SPEEDBIRD self-sponsored pathway (ssp)

Following a huge amount of interest and questions for the Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway (SSP), British Airways has provided some answers to the most frequently asked questions. 

The new Pathway is a re-brand of some of the other British Airways schemes, it will simplify low hour pilot recruitment with the one key difference now being that British Airways are now offering the opportunity to be “tagged” prior to you starting your flight training. 

British Airways has been “tagging” pilots during training for the past 12 months. Trainee pilots (white tails) had been able to apply post ground school on successfully achieving an 85% average with no more than 3 resits fails with an overall average of 85%.

Tagging is also possible post flying training through the Newly Qualified Pilot Pathway (NQPP). Moving forward both NQPP and “white tail tagging” will stop and all low hour pilot recruitment will come under the Speedbird Self Sponsored Pathway (SSP).

This will allow a person to apply before they start training on either an integrated or modular route. British Airways is focussed on improving accessibility to achieving a career as an airline pilot. SSP will provide not only a sense of security knowing a career is in place at the end of training but will also provide support throughout the training process.

The Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway is ongoing, there are limited places available at any one time, so it may be paused to meet demand. 

To apply for the Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway, you must meet the minimum entry criteria.

  • Height must be between 1.57m (5’2″) and 1.91m (6’3″) (height is accurately determined during the assessment process). Qualified pilots who are taller than 1.91m may submit an application but will be required to undergo a functionality check to confirm their ability to meet the requirements of the seating positions in the British Airways fleet of aircraft
  • 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 Skyborne you will also need:
  • 6 GCSEs grade A-C or 5-9 including Maths, English and Science or equivalents qualifications

If you have applied or are within the application process for Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway (SSP) you are not eligible to apply for the Speedbird Pilot Academy (SPA) programme. If you have previously applied for SSP and failed, you can still apply for SPA but there is a maximum of 3 applications for both schemes combined. There is a minimum of 12 months between applications for either SSP or SPA.

Yes. Our Skyborne Flight Training Advisors have contacted all those who are confirmed on our Integrated ATPL from March 2024 to February 2025. 

Trainees are also to apply for the Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway on completion of your Instrument Rating.

Yes, if you applied for the Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway and were unsuccessful, you will be able to reapply after 6 months with a maximum of 3 attempts.

You must be between 1.57m (5’2″) and 1.91m (6’3″) (height is accurately determined during the assessment process). Qualified pilots who are taller than 1.91m may submit an application but will be required to undergo a functionality check to confirm their ability to meet the requirements of the seating positions in the British Airways fleet of aircraft

You can be 17 when you apply, but you must be aged between 18 and 55 before training starts.

You must have 6 GCSE’s (or equivalent), Grade A-C or 5-9 (including English, Maths and one of the Sciences). If you hold equivalent qualifications, British Airways will be in a position to check your equivalency so please ensure you enter your qualifications as they appear on your certificates.

Yes as long as you have the right to live and study in the UK without sponsorship

No, on acceptance of a conditional contract of employment within the Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway you will not be able to apply for any future Speedbird Pilot Academy campaigns.

No, as far as British Airways are concerned, their only focus is that a trainee pilot achieves the required standard set at all key test points during flying training. There is no preference as to which training pathway you choose. We require that at all training post ground school is done at the same school.

Two and a half years from date of contract.

A Conditional Offer is a contract based upon fulfilling a set of criteria prior to starting employment. 

The conditions of the Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway are:

  • an 85% average in ground school
  • no more than 3 resits
  • no more than 1 recourse
  • all flying tests passed on the first series
  • all tests must be taken at the same Approved Training Organisation (ATO)

  • 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)
  • APS MCC
  • aUPRT
  • UK Part-FCL licence

Should any of these conditions not be met, British Airways has the right to withdraw the conditional offer of employment.

Post Instrument Rating the conditions required to apply for the Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway are:

  • APS MCC – to be completed within 6 months of being tagged
  • aUPRT
  • UK Part-FCL licence
  • No more than three training providers for the following stages of training: Ground School, CPL/IR, APS MCC (PPL hour building and aUPRT is not included in the 3 training provider limit)
  • Training completed no earlier than 1st January 2020
  • Application must include the ATPL Consolidated exam report and flying examiners report for CPL and IR (if completed at time of application) and a final course report if available.

It is dependent on the training route you choose to take; previous experience can be directly credited under the modular pathway. On an Integrated course it is up to the ATO to determine if any credit can be applied towards the training syllabus.

Yes, British Airways have School Liaison Pilots who will support you throughout the training and make sure you are kept up to date with everything going on within the airline and what to expect after completion of the course.

British Airways has provided some information on how you can prepare for your application. 

The Situational Judgement Test forms part of the interview – read the question in full and consider what answer British Airways would expect from their pilots. You may wish to do further reading about behaviours that pilots use to be successful in the role.

Maths Test – BBC Bitesize is the best place to practice your maths. The Maths test is timed you need to work quickly and accurately from the multiple choice options.

Checking Test – you will be presented with a body of information and asked to confirm whether the information is correct or incorrect. Make sure to read the question in full.

Due to the anticipated response levels to the Speedbird Pilot Academy, British Airways are unable to provide individual feedback. 

This is a full Integrated ATPL programme.

Technical skills are important, but it’s your behaviours as a British Airways pilot that will really set you apart. British Airways is unique, their pilots are very passionate and enthusiastic about their 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 British Airways customers and colleagues on board.

Technical skills are important, but it’s your behaviours as a British Airways pilot that will really set you apart. British Airways is unique, and their pilots are very passionate and enthusiastic about British Airways’ 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 customers and colleagues on board.

British Airways will aim to respond to applicants as swiftly as possible. Due to the expected volumes you might take up to 2 weeks for a response. Please be patient as all applicants will receive a response.

No, you can apply and start training with zero flight experience, however we suggest a 30-minute flight lesson in advance.

If you know the exam board you took your exams through, you can obtain this information online. If you don’t know the exam board, the school you attended may be able to assist.

For further information, visit https://www.gov.uk/replacement-exam-certificate

Yes – upon successful completion of the selection process, you will receive a conditional job offer from British Airways, outlining the performance standards expected through training with Skyborne.

The initial part of the application will be online where you will be asked to tell us your training pathway (integrated/modular) and which ATO you are choosing to train with.

This will be followed by a series of online aptitude tests and a video interview.

On successful completion of this you will be invited to attend your chosen ATO to undergo their assessment process*.

The final stage will be a selection day held at our headquarters at Waterside.

*If you have already attended an assessment or have an assessment booked this can be used for your Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway application.

There is a lot that you can do to help prepare for your assessment process. Firstly, research is key. It is important that you understand the role of a commercial pilot with British Airways and responsibilities involved. It is also important that you can demonstrate your motivation towards this career and why you believe you are suitable for this exciting opportunity.

Aptitude testing is an area that also can be prepared for. Skyborne use AON online testing and practice assessments can be accessed at the following link to give you practice questions, as well as hints and tips. https://assessment.aon.com/en-us/prepare-your-assessment

Consider the non technical aspects also. At group exercise and interview your communication, team work and leadership, amongst others, will be discussed and observed. These are all key qualities necessary to be successful as a commercial pilot.

Unfortunately, as the volume of applications is anticipated to be high, applicants will not receive feedback across all stages. Only those that are unsuccessful at the final British Airways stage will receive feedback.

British Airways has selected Skyborne Airline Academy as the only UK approved training partner for the Speedbird Pilot Academy. In addition, Skyborne is an approved training organisation for the British Airways Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway. This programme is for cadets self-sponsoring their own training and is another route to the airline outside of the Speedbird Pilot Academy.

The full training schedule with Skyborne can be found HERE

Yes, as part of the British Airways agreement, all trainees will be accommodated by Skyborne, working and living alongside other Speedbird Academy trainees and Skyborne Integrated ATPL trainees.

You could be based at London Heathrow, Gatwick or City airports.

You make your application directly to British Airways and you will be asked what your preferred flight training school is as part of this process.

On being accepted into the Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway, if Skyborne is your allocated flight school, a Skyborne Flight Training Advisor will contact you directly to discuss when your training will begin.

If your preference is on a modular pathway the two and half year completion limit would begin from the date your contract is issued.

The British Airways recruitment team alongside the Skyborne team would work with you to lay out an intended itinerary to achieve a frozen ATPL within the time period.

Applicants should plan to commence training within 6 months of the date of issue for the conditional contract.

The full training schedule and locations can be found HERE

No, as a full-time training course, you will be expected to attend Ground School phases in person.

On completion of training, you will be given a start date with a contract confirming an offer of employment with British Airways as a shorthaul first officer based at either Gatwick or Heathrow.

Your school liaison pilot will keep you updated as to what is going on at British Airways during your training. Approx 3 months from completion you will be informed of your base and planned start date which is driven by the resource plan.

British Airways will aim to get you started as soon as possible after your course completion. Given the 18-month course footprint and the dynamic nature of the airline industry it is important though to be flexible as this date can change.

£44,525 LHR  / £45864 LGW (with addition of flying pay) which will commence when you begin your training with British Airways at Heathrow. The contract will be subject to any appicable terms and conditions at the time.

GET IN TOUCH

What Happens Next ?

Commercial airline Programme

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CFI / CFII / MEII

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Leave with Pilot License

Odio morbi quis commodo odio aenean tristique risus nec feugiat in fermentum posuere. (15w)

What Happens Next ?

Commercial airline Programme

Odio morbi quis commodo odio aenean tristique risus nec feugiat in fermentum posuere. (15w)

CFI / CFII / MEII

Odio morbi quis commodo odio aenean tristique risus nec feugiat in fermentum posuere. (15w)

Leave with Pilot License

Odio morbi quis commodo odio aenean tristique risus nec feugiat in fermentum posuere. (15w)

What Happens Next ?

Commercial airline Programme

Odio morbi quis commodo odio aenean tristique risus nec feugiat in fermentum posuere. (15w)

CFI / CFII / MEII

Odio morbi quis commodo odio aenean tristique risus nec feugiat in fermentum posuere. (15w)

Leave with Pilot License

Odio morbi quis commodo odio aenean tristique risus nec feugiat in fermentum posuere. (15w)

What Happens Next ?

Commercial airline Programme

Odio morbi quis commodo odio aenean tristique risus nec feugiat in fermentum posuere. (15w)

CFI / CFII / MEII

Odio morbi quis commodo odio aenean tristique risus nec feugiat in fermentum posuere. (15w)

Leave with Pilot License

Odio morbi quis commodo odio aenean tristique risus nec feugiat in fermentum posuere. (15w)