Commercial Pilot Career
Opportunities And Airline Placements
From the moment you enrol with L3Harris Airline Academy and start learning how to become a commercial pilot, our focus is on establishing pilot career opportunities for you. We are here to support you with finding airline placements and securing your first job as a co-pilot with a world-class airline. The advantages of being a pilot are endless, from travelling the world and constantly learning while challenging yourself, to benefits for you and the whole family.
British Airways Pilot Recruitment Partner
British Airways (BA) has selected L3Harris as an accredited partner to fulfil its pilot recruitment needs!
The agreement allows BA to select newly qualified pilots from our Graduate Placement Pool and ‘tag’ students at various stages of training that meet the airline's requirements.
Navigating Your Pilot Career: From First Officer to Airline Captain
As an aspiring commercial airline pilot, your career begins after pilot school, once you have secured your licence. After which, your career progression will generally follow the trajectory outlined below, with the expectation that you can become a Captain within three steps.
1. Starting Your Pilot Career - Your First Position:
You will initially start your airline pilot career as a First Officer, serving as the second-in-command to the airline Captain, who has overall responsibility for the flight and the safety of both crew and passengers onboard. As you gain experience in your role, you can expect to earn a salary of up to and average of £48,605.
2. Progressing in Your Career - Your Second Position:
Once you gain greater pilot experience and complete more flying hours, you will progress in your commercial pilot career into the role of a Senior First Officer. You can expect an average salary of up to £58,204.
3. Reaching for New Horizons - Your Captain Position:
After gaining further pilot experience as a Senior First Officer, you can consider applying for a Captain's role. On average, an airline Captain’s salary in the UK is £103,525.
Each exciting role will have varying responsibilities, requirements, benefits and salaries for pilots. Learn more about how much you can expect to earn as a pilot in the UK in our blog.
Airline Pilot Career - What Will Your Day-To-Day Look Like?
As you accumulate aviation work experience in your pilot career, your role will involve assisting the Captain in the operation and management of flights. Your main responsibilities will be:
- To ensure the safety of all passengers and crew members during the flight
- To be attentive to the crew and keep passengers happy
Adapting to Dynamic Work Environments:
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 that as a pilot, you are responsible for all preparations prior to the flight. This means that you will be responsible for:
- Inspecting the aircraft before and after flights
- Obtaining weather briefings
- Performing calculations using basic arithmetics, mental maths, algebra, and geometry
- Ensuring that systems are set before flights
Our L3Harris pilot training programmes are designed to fully prepare you for the incredible airline pilot career path that lies ahead of you. With over 40 years of expertise in pilot training and a dedicated airline placements team to help you secure a pilot job in Europe or the UK, you can have full confidence in the exceptional training and support offered by L3Harris Airline Academy.
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 UK Civil Aviation Authority (UKCAA) or European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) in four ways with L3Harris:
- First: the Integrated ATPL, our full-time, 70 week programme complete with bespoke accommodation offerings and access to the L3Harris Graduate Placement Pool
- Second: our BSc (Hons) Aviation – Pilot Programme, which combines ATPL training with a degree, meaning you could access student finance to cover a portion of the training costs
- Third: our Flexible ATPL. The end result is the same as our Integrated ATPL programme, and you retain all the benefits, but this programme is completed in a flexible way, that suits you
- Fourth: 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 significant 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 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.
Our Airline Relationships
At L3Harris Airline Academy we are 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 have for developing global airline relationships and the time we invest into understanding the staffing and training requirements of the airlines we partner with, 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 at which our cadets could secure pilot careers include British Airways, easyJet, Icelandair, IndiGo, Royal Brunei, Ryanair, TAP, Turkish and Wizz Air.
Eligibility Requirements For Our Airline Relationships
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.
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
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
Read more on our pilot qualifications page.
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
- TUI Group
- Oman Air
- TAP Air Portugal
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.
Have L3Harris Airline Academy secured any employment opportunities for graduate cadets?
Yes. At the time of writing (October 2023), thanks to the hard work of our Graduate Placement team and our strong airline relationships, more than 365 graduates have found employment with airlines since 2022.
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.