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Airline aims to boost number of female pilots in ‘one-of-a-kind’ training scheme

An airline said it is launching the UK’s first scheme to train dozens of pilots with no upfront costs, as it encourages more women to consider the role (Rupert Oberhauser/Alamy)
An airline said it is launching the UK’s first scheme to train dozens of pilots with no upfront costs, as it encourages more women to consider the role (Rupert Oberhauser/Alamy)

An airline said it is launching the UK’s first scheme to train dozens of pilots with no upfront costs and then offer them jobs, as it encourages more women to consider the role.

Gaining a commercial pilot’s licence usually costs up to £130,000, but Tui Airways said from September it will train 30 people a year in return for future salary deductions.

The company hopes the cadet programme will boost the number of women who become airline pilots, as it marks International Women’s Day (IWD).

Tui Airways pilot Amy Bannister said: “Although only 5% of pilots may be women now, the tide seems to be changing and it’s not unusual to have an all-female crew.

“More and more women are joining the industry, as it’s such a fantastic job to have.

“Industry-wide we are treated as equals, and I am proud to work for a company that focuses on my role, not my gender.”

The training scheme is expected to take around one-and-a-half years and is unpaid.

People who complete the scheme will be offered a job flying Boeing 737 aircraft, with their training costs repaid through deductions from their salary for four years.

At current levels, this will result in an annual salary of nearly £32,900.

Tui Airways director Malcolm Sutherland said the scheme is part of efforts to “remove barriers” faced by people who want to become a pilot.

He went on: “Pilots play such a pivotal role and we want to attract the best and the brightest who are passionate and committed to going the extra mile for our customers.

“This programme is one-of-a-kind, as it’s the only scheme in the UK offering 30 places a year to train pilots without any upfront cost.”

Several train operators are also marking IWD.

Avanti West Coast announced a mural unveiled in January to celebrate the woman who led the charge for female train drivers will remain in place to encourage more women to consider working in rail.

The artwork at London Euston station depicting trailblazer Karen Harrison will not be removed as originally planned.

TransPennine Express released a video highlighting the work done by some of its female employees as part of the company’s efforts to “embrace equity” and “break the perception that the rail industry is male-dominated”.

The operator said in the past year, women made up 27% of its new hires and 31% of internal promotions.