The UK’s largest pilot union has campaigned to highlight the issue for years and recently called for the Government to allow student pilots to access student loans.
The research acknowledges that pilot training can cost cadets up to £150,000 and that the lack of funding is a huge barrier to entry into the profession.
BALPA would like the Government to commit to tackling these issues with specific policies and – most importantly – funding, to pave the way for a more diverse workforce and allow those from a wider range of socio-economic backgrounds access to the pilot profession.
BALPA hopes its long running campaign for student funding for pilot training will now bear fruit and will continue working very closely with Government on this.
Miranda Rackley, BALPA’s Interim General Secretary, said: “This report recognises what BALPA has been highlighting for years: That the lack of diversity in the pilot workforce cannot be addressed without tackling the financial barriers to entry to the profession.
“We are pleased the Government has acknowledged this and now hope they will act swiftly to remove the financial barriers by putting in place policies and funding that will support the opening up of the profession to all those who have the aptitude but not ability to pay.”
Mark Jenkinson MP (Workington) said: “This report reflects the reality for aspiring commercial pilots: Huge upfront trainings costs with no financial support available, leaving the career open only to those lucky enough to have parental support. Government must change this and provide a funding route, levelling up access to a fantastic career.”
Danni Parker, BALPA member and aspiring commercial pilot, said: “The abrupt reality of financing my dream career hit at the same point when my passion for aviation intensified: my first flying lesson. Everyone in the industry is keen to address the lack of social mobility and diversity. Pilot training must become accessible by opening up funding routes, the lack of which currently denies many people the opportunity to ever reach the flight deck. Everyone deserves the chance to achieve and realise their dream careers regardless of their circumstances.”