Wow: Union Warns Students Not To Become Pilots

The global health crisis is continuing to take its toll on the aviation industry. As a result, the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has warned individuals looking to take on a pilot training course to think twice about their decision.

british airways coronavirus
Following another lockdown in England, there is a stark warning for UK’s potential pilots. Photo: Getty Images

Tough times

According to a press release seen by Simple Flying, the union wants students to avoid paying upwards of £100,000 ($131,000) for training only to find that there are no opportunities at the other end. This statement follows a series of flight suspensions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  

BALPA head of membership and careers services Wendy Pursey said there are currently 10,000 unemployed commercial pilots across Europe. This figure includes 1,600 pilots in the United Kingdom. Also, many pilots are working part-time or are on reduced pay to save jobs.

easyJet coronavirus grounding
easyJet has been vocal against travel restrictions. Photo: Getty Images

Grim outlook

Additionally, there are already around 200 trainees in flight training schools who were on a path to jobs with easyJet. However, Pursey states that they now have no clear route to even obtaining a license.

“This is not a positive picture for anyone whose heart is set on entering this profession. There will be fewer jobs, with more people competing for each one even once this pandemic is over. In this situation it would be irresponsible if we did anything other than warn people to consider delaying their flight training at this time,” Pursey said in the release.

“We urge potential pilots to get experience in another profession first which will postpone any training until the industry is in a more robust shape, provide additional skills and experience and also give them another avenue to fall back on. For anyone that still wants to proceed they should consider the Modular training route which does provide the opportunity to learn and work in other fields.”

British Airways Boeing 747
There have been significant changes at British Airways this year. Photo: Getty Images

Changes needed

The current climate is undoubtedly difficult for airlines and their staff. Moreover, analysts predict that it could take three to five years for passenger activity to return to levels in 2019.

However, 2019 was a record-breaking year for the aviation industry with many expansions across the globe. Currently, many passengers have a desire to fly, but they simply can’t due to governmental policy.

From extensive quarantines to outright border closures, it is exceptionally challenging for the public to hit the skies. Therefore, once there are consistent, balanced, and effective solutions to traveling in the new era, passenger activity would pick up.

For instance, testing schemes in certain areas such as Hawaii have shown that demand can pick up once quarantine is bypassed. Additionally, after the highly-anticipated vaccine is introduced, there could be better signs of recovery.

Careful considerations

Several pilots are heading for early retirement as companies reduce their workforce. So, combining this aspect with the fact that unions are warning against new recruits could cause a new problem down the line if business picks up sooner than later.

Altogether, the current situation is challenging, and it’s difficult to truly understand the long-term effect. 2021 will give a better indication of the future impact.

What are your thoughts about the British Airline Pilots’ Association’s warning to potential pilots? Do you agree with the group’s views? Or will the situation be resolved soon enough? Let us know what you think in the comment section.