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BA Speedbird Trainees Begin Studies at Skyborne

Wednesday March 20, 2024

Skyborne at Gloucestershire Airport recently welcomed the first Speedbird Pilot Academy trainees on their fully sponsored path to the flight deck with British Airways.

Skyborne was announced as the official UK partner for the Speedbird Pilot Academy in September 2023. The scheme saw more than 20,000 applicants in its first year and a highly competitive process, including online assessments, video and face-to-face interviews, as well as an assessment day with British Airways.

Lee Woodward, CEO, Skyborne, says: “This is a life-changing initiative. By removing training costs British Airways’ Speedbird Pilot Academy levels the playing field for the best and brightest, driving change in our industry.

“The standard of applicants has been incredible and to see the first trainees here at Skyborne marks a proud moment for our team. We thank British Airways for their trust and confidence in us as a leading and innovative flight school.”

Lucy Silvester, British Airways pilot recruitment manager, says: “We’re incredibly proud that the Speedbird Pilot Academy is making a flying career a reality for everyone – making a genuine difference to people’s lives.

The overwhelming number and standard of applications is helping to ensure we are attracting the very best flying talent for our future generation of pilots.”

“We will continue to invest in our future pilots, as part of our £7 billion investment programme across the airline and will soon announce application details for the second year of Speedbird Pilot Academy too.”

The Speedbird class of 2024 come from diverse backgrounds, range in age from 18 to their mid-40s, and will join Skyborne between March and October this year.

Paul Shrive, father of Speedbird trainee Oliver Shrive, adds: “All Oliver has wanted to do is fly, it’s been his dream since he was seven years old. So as parents, to see that dream become a reality makes us incredibly proud. And for Skyborne and British Airways to be able to offer the opportunity and the accessibility to become a pilot is second to none. We’ll be forever grateful.”

The Speedbird Pilot Academy (SPA) with Skyborne is just one route to a career with British Airways. Skyborne is the only flight school to serve as official UK partner for both SPA and the Speedbird Self-Sponsored Pathway (SSP), offering Integrated ATPL applicants the opportunity to receive a conditional job offer from the airline before starting their flight training. To find out more visit:

Pictured are the first Speedbird trainees at Skyborne with Guy Bowen, Project Pilot, Pilot Recruitment at British Airways.

Image courtesy of Jonathan Murdoch

Gloucestershire Airport