LONDON – The British Air Line Pilots Association (BALPA) has issued a stark warning to those wanting to become Pilots as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to batter the industry.

BALPA have stated that going through the training process at this stage would result in no job offers and debts in excess of £100,000 after completion of training.

The union has issued this warning following the number of unemployed Pilots in Europe rising to 10,000, of which 1,600 are in the UK.

Photo: The Financial Times

The Odds Are Stacked


Wendy Pursey, who is the head of membership and careers at BALPA stated that there is no clear route to getting a job, which has been seen in the recently announced news regarding 200 easyJet (U2) new-starters.

The 200 members of staff-to-be had their offers withdrawn by the airline, following U2’s recent measures to bring costs down whilst operations are minimal. Another example announced this week came from British Airways (BA), which announced that it would be placing more staff, particularly from London Gatwick (LGW) on furlough.

A BA spokesperson stated that the airline had to “urgently review” the schedule of the carrier due to the United Kingdom beginning its second national lockdown.

Photo: Metro

What About Those Still with Jobs?


In the case of the United Kingdom, those who have not had their jobs cut are safe. That is until March next year of course.

The Government instigated a further expansion of the 80% furlough pay program, which will keep pay-packets active for those in the industry currently. Industry body Airlines UK welcomed this motion but stated that the government needs to do more on this issue.

“[Airlines] urgently need access to further liquidity measures to shore up their balance sheets”.

Photo: Business Insider

Situation Worsening?


For those in the airline industry in the UK, the situation does appear to be worsening, due to the virus and also the government’s response to it as well. This has resulted in the likes of U2 warning that it will require additional financial support in order to weather the storms, having reported a £325m pre-tax loss in the third quarter of this year.

A couple of days ago, the CEO of Manchester Airport Groups Charlie Cornish called on the government to “act quickly to secure the future” of the nationwide industry. On top of this, the UK Government also has to juggle the ongoing BREXIT negotiations, with all eyes on negotiators to prevent flights operating into the European Union and the UK from being grounded.

Photo: BBC

Looking to the Year-End


This week’s warning from BALPA is one of many that the UK Government is going to have to listen to as it aims to get one of its largest sectors back in the skies.

From the COVID pandemic to ongoing BREXIT talks, the industry in the UK is at serious danger of significant collapse, one that may not be recoverable longer than the initial 2024 targets projected by airports across the continent.

It will be interesting to see how the government will now approach things, as well as whether a bit of full throttle is going to be needed going towards the year-end.


Featured Image: A view of London Heathrow’s Terminal 5. Photo Credit: BBC.