Commercial pilot career opportunities
and airline placements

From the moment you learn how to become a commercial pilot with L3Harris Airline Academy, our focus is on your career opportunities as a pilot: We are here to support you with finding airline placements and achieving your first job as a Co-Pilot with a world-class airline. The advantages of being a pilot are endless, from travelling the world, benefits for you and the whole family to challenging yourself daily and constantly learning.

Working as a pilot

As an aspiring commercial airline pilot, you will begin your career after pilot school, once you have secured your licence. You’ll initially start your airline pilot career as a First Officer, second-in-command to the airline Captain who has overall responsibility for the flight and the safety of both crew and passengers onboard.

Once you gain greater pilot work experience and complete more flying hours, you’ll progress in your commercial pilot career into the role of a Senior First Officer where any flying limitations begin to be lifted.

After gaining further substantial pilot work experience as a Senior First Officer, you can consider applying for a Captain's role or look to progress your airline pilot career further by flying for a larger aircraft.

Each exciting role will have varying responsibilities, requirements, benefits and salaries. Learn more about how much you can expect to earn as a pilot in the UK in our blog.

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Airline pilot career - What will your day-to-day look like?

When you gain work experience as a pilot, you will be assisting the Captain in the operation and management of the flight. Your main responsibility is to ensure the safety of all passengers and crew members during the flight, but also to be attentive to the crew and keep passengers happy.

As with all pilot careers, your work environment changes constantly because your flight times, weather conditions and the colleagues you work with vary from flight-to-flight. What remains constant, however, is as a pilot you are responsible for all preparations prior to the flight. This means you will inspect the aircraft, get a weather briefing and perform calculations as well as make sure all navigation systems are set before the flight.

Our L3Harris pilot training is designed to fully prepare you for the incredible airline pilot career that lies ahead. With more than 40 years heritage in pilot training and a dedicated airline placements team to help you secure a pilot job in Europe or the UK, you couldn’t be in safer hands than with L3Harris Airline Academy.

Latest graduate employment


Choosing the right pilot career path

You might be wondering what pathway to take to begin your lucrative airline pilot career. Our L3Harris Airline Academy offers a variety of exceptional pilot training programmes

You can earn your UKCAA or EASA ATPL licence in four ways with L3Harris:

  • Firstly, the Integrated ATPL, our full-time, 70 week programme complete with bespoke accommodation offering and access to the L3Harris Graduate Placement Pool
  • Our BSc (Hons) Aviation – Pilot Programme combines ATPL training with a degree, meaning you could access student finance to fund some of the costs of training
  • Thirdly, our Flexible ATPL. The end result is the same as our Integrated programme, and you retain all the benefits, but this programme is completed in a flexible way, that suits you
  • Finally, our Individual Modules allow you to train with L3Harris on an individual course, depending on where you are in your training journey

We understand that getting a pilot licence is a commitment, both financially and personally. That's why it's important to us that you find the right programme for your future career path as a pilot and that you understand the costs and funding of each pilot training course.

By embarking on one of our pilot training courses, you will open yourself up to a world of fantastic career opportunities that could see you work for world class airlines and thrive in one of the best pilot jobs in Europe. Take a look at our latest graduate employment statistics.

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Our airline relationships

L3Harris Airline Academy is unrivaled in our ability to secure airline placement opportunities for our pilot graduates with some of the world's best known airlines.

A unique strength of ours is the significant commitment we give to developing global airline relationships and spending time to understand their staffing and training requirements, in order to enable and further your airline pilot career through valuable airline placements.

Just a few of the airlines we work with around the globe and those which our cadets could secure pilot careers with include British Airways, easyJet, Icelandair, IndiGo, Royal Brunei, Ryanair, TAP, Turkish and Wizz Air.

Our airline relationships

Miryam's first solo

At L3Harris Airline Academy, we are with you every step of the way, supporting you with taking the first steps towards your commercial pilot career. Watch the moment we surprised Miryam Ahmad - the first female cadet on the L3Harris Kuwait Airways' government sponsored program - with a video call after completing her first solo!


Airline placement terms

L3Harris Airline Academy provides eligible individuals with opportunities for airline placements through our pilot courses, but makes no guarantee or warranty that an airline placement will be obtained.

Airline placement opportunities are subject to the airline's pilot requirements and eligibility criteria which may be updated or amended by the airline at any time and without prior notice.

Requirements & qualifications to become a pilot

Career opportunity FAQs

How much can I expect to earn as a pilot?

As a commercial pilot, you can expect to receive high earnings well above the average. 

The starting salary for a newly qualified commercial pilot could range from approximately £22,000 to £28,000 depending on the size of the airline.

For more experienced commercial pilots, salaries could be anywhere between £54,000 to over £140,000, again depending on the size of the airline.

For further information, please visit: Aviation Job Search 

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What qualifications do I need to commence my pilot training?

To begin pilot training at our Airline Academy you’ll need the following qualifications:

  • A minimum of five GCSEs grade C/4 or above, or international equivalent; which must include Maths, English and Science

You will also need:

  • UKCAA Class 1 Medical Certification (without restrictions for UKCAA licence) or EASA Class 1 Medical Certification (without restrictions) for an EASA licence
  • Visa - if required - to study in our flight training locations. Further details on visa requirements are listed on individual course pages
  • Produce a clean criminal record check (CRC) basic disclosure certificate

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What are my responsibilities as a commercial airline pilot?

As a commercial airline pilot you have a number of responsibilities, which could include but not be limited to:

  • Gather information about the route, weather, passengers and aircraft
  • Utilising the above information to create a flight plan, this should include details of flight altitude, route and fuel requirements, and should then be submitted to air traffic control
  • Check the overall condition of the aircraft and that the safety systems are working properly before and after every flight
  • Conduct pre-flight checks on the navigation and operating system
  • Communicate with air traffic control before take-off, during the flight and landing
  • Monitor and conduct regular checks on the engines, aircraft systems, fuel consumption and weather conditions
  • Brief the cabin crew before and during the flight
  • Communicate flight updates with passengers

Who could I become a pilot for?

There are many commercial airlines both in the UK and the rest of the world which you could become a pilot for. These include but are not limited to:

  • British Airways
  • EasyJet
  • WizzAir
  • Jet2
  • Ryanair
  • TUI Group
  • Oman Air
  • TAP Air Portugal

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Do you offer a dual licence for UKCAA & EASA?

Yes, we do. The dual licence allows cadets to complete both a UKCAA and EASA licence in one combined course. Cadets will be required to take both UKCAA and EASA Theoretical Knowledge exams. There will also be additional flying hours to meet both regulatory authority requirements plus skills tests that must be taken in both UK and EU airspace.

The dual licence potentially opens up greater employment opportunities as cadets will be qualified to work for airlines registered and operating under either the UKCAA or EASA. Please note however, if you wish to work in the EU you must have a right to live and work in the EU.

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Have L3Harris Airline Academy secured any employment opportunities for graduate cadets?

Yes. At the time of writing (May 2023), thanks to the hard work of our Graduate Placement team and our strong airline relationships, more than 300 graduates have found employment with airlines since 2022.

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What is better, ATPL or CPL?

ATPL is an Airline Transport Pilot Licence and is the highest level of pilot certification to embark on a career as a First Officer.

CPL is a Commercial Pilot Licence and enables you to act as a pilot in command of a small piston engine for commercial purposes.

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