EasyJet launches biggest pilot recruitment drive yet

EasyJet marked International Women's Day in March with an all-female crew of six pilts and cabin crews on a flight from Gatwick to Madrid. Picture: EasyJet
EasyJet marked International Women's Day in March with an all-female crew of six pilts and cabin crews on a flight from Gatwick to Madrid. Picture: EasyJet
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EasyJet is seeking more pilots at its Edinburgh and Glasgow bases as part of Scotland’s largest airline’s biggest recruitment drive to date.

An extra 450 pilots - with a starting salary of £40,000 - will been taken on across the UK.

It follows a record 426 being enlisted last year, the carrier announced today.

There will be a particular focus on more female pilots as part of EasyJet’s drive to double the number of women in its cockpits.

The move further underlines strong UK aviation growth and comes days after Edinburgh Airport - Scotland’s busiest - reported a further 13 per cent surge in passengers last month.

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Loganair, the Scottish airline is going it alone in September after decades of partnerships with airlines such as Flybe and British Airways, is recruiting 30 extra captains this year.

Ryanair announced last October it was seeking 1,000 more pilots across its 85 European bases, but said it was too early to say how many of them would be based in Scotland.

A spokesman said: “We have only started to plan for next summer and any Scottish growth will be dependent on a reduction in air passenger duty and the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.ˮ

EasyJet, which launched in 1995 with Glasgow-Luton flights, said around 300 of the new pilots were likely to be cadets.

It also wants more experienced co-pilots and captains.

They will join more than 3,000 employed by the airline, who fly some 265 aircraft on around 870 routes in 31 countries.

Easyjet said the “For the love of Flying” campaign, to be launched next month, came at an “exciting time of continued growth”.

Its bases at Edinburgh and Glasgow bases are among 11 in the UK.

The airline’s drive to recruitment more female pilots is called the Amy Johnson Initiative, after the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia.

Launched in October 2015, it has already achieved its initial aims of doubling the number of female new entrants from 6 per cent to 12 per cent in two years.

A new target has been set of 20 per cent - one in five - new entrant pilots being female by 2020.

EasyJet has 164 female pilots - some 5.5 per cent of the total, compared to 3 per cent across the industry.

It also has 62 female captains, 14 per cent of the 450 across all airlines.

Any EasyJet spokeswoman said: “Based on current plans, this would mean EasyJet would be recruiting around 50 female pilots a year, which will really start to change the face of the industry.

“This is a long-term strategy which is hoped will eventually lead to EasyJet recruiting, retaining and developing many more female pilots.”

Head of flight operations Captain Brian Tyrrell said of the overall recruitment campaign: “We pride ourselves on having a team of the highest talent.

“We offer our pilots a clear career path with the opportunity to develop from first officer to captain quicker than at other airlines.”

Cadets typically train for a year at specialist firms such as CTC Aviation, CAE and FTE Jerez before joining the airline as a second officer.

They normally become a first officer after three years.