Faster Thinking

The magic numbers

Crew numbers top 20,000 to meet 2016 growth challenge

British Airways is to recruit a record number of pilots and cabin crew in 2016, which will increase its flying crew to more than 20,000 for the first time in its 96-year history. 

The new crew will help fly the airline’s growing aircraft fleet, with 11 new Boeing 787-9s and two Airbus A380s arriving this year, and 13 new short and long-haul routes being launched. 

More than 350 pilots and 1,600 cabin crew will be recruited in 2016, the highest number in a single year. 

The growth of the network from May sees new services from Heathrow to San Jose in California, and from Gatwick to Costa Rica and Lima. A Gatwick-New York JFK service is also being restored after a seven-year gap.

The short-haul programme is boosted by new routes from Heathrow to Biarritz, Menorca, Palermo, Billund in Denmark, and Chania and Kalamata in the Greek islands. A Gatwick-Porto service launches in February, and Bergerac can be reached direct from London City from May 1.

Two days later, the domestic UK network will be enhanced by the start of daily Heathrow-Inverness services.

The airline recruits its pilots through three main channels; its own sponsored cadet scheme, direct from other carriers and experienced pilots from the military. The airline’s cadet scheme, the British Airways Future Pilot Programme opens annually to anyone aged 18 to 55, with no previous flying experience necessary.  

Cabin crew applicants must pass a series of exacting tests before the very best make it onto the airline’s bespoke course.