Airline Pilot

Job Profile Image

Airline pilots fly aircraft on long-haul and short-haul flights transporting passengers and/or cargo. They direct the crew and are responsible for the safety of everyone on board.

The Work

You could be:


The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:

Starting salaries are around £22,000 to £38,000 a year, depending on the type of aircraft and the rating required. Pilots with some experience can earn up to £48,000 with some of the European airlines. Experienced captains flying for large international airlines can earn up to £140,000 a year.


Employment Status UK %

Past Unemployment

Year Unemployed

LMI data powered by LMI for All

Getting In

There are 4 main routes to becoming an airline pilot:

Integrated Training for the ATPL and IR

Training for the PPL, followed by Modular training for the ATPL and IR

Company training scheme for the MPL

Armed services training followed by a civil aviation conversion course

Whatever the training route you choose, you must:

Most jobs require applicants to have a specific minimum of hours of commercial flying experience. There is no shortage of qualified pilots in the world, but there is a shortage of pilots who have managed to clock up the necessary hours of flying experience to allow them to apply for most jobs. Until you have achieved this experience, your ATPL is 'frozen'.

Predicted Employment in Scotland

LMI data powered by LMI for All

What Does it Take?

You need to have:

You need to be able to:


Getting On

More Information

The Honourable Company of Air Pilots (formerly Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators) website has details of aptitude tests available for people with little or no flying experience. This could help you decide whether you are suited to this career, before you make a financial commitment to training.

The British Women Pilots' Association (BWPA) gives a small number of scholarships each year to young women aged between 17 and 26. It offers them the chance of 12 to 15 hours of flying towards the award of a National Private Pilot's Licence (NPPL).

Airlines that offer sponsored or part-sponsored pilot training include British Airways, Flybe and Monarch. Relevant vacancies may be advertised on websites such as Aviation Job Search.


The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA)
Tel: 020 8476 4000
Twitter: @BALPApilots

British Women Pilots' Association (BWPA)
Twitter: @BWPA_UK

Civil Aviation Authority
Tel: 020 7453 6040
Twitter: @UK_CAA

L3 Airline Academy
Tel: 02380 742 400
Twitter: @L3_Academy

L3 Airline Academy offers various training routes to becoming a pilot and is used by a number of airlines as their approved training operator. They have taken over from CTC Aviation.

Oxford Aviation Academy
Tel: 01865 841234
Twitter: @CAEOAA

Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS)
Tel: 020 7670 4326
Website (2):
Twitter: @AeroSociety

The Royal Aeronautical Society has a website called Careers in Aerospace which provides a wide range of information on careers in the aeronautical industry.

Was this article useful?
Please help us improve Planit by rating this article.

Career Sectors

Air Transport


Rail Transport

Road Transport

Sea Transport