Why easyJet is smashing stereotypes to find 1,000 new pilots

In the latest signal that demand is returning to commercial aviation sector, British low-cost carrier easyJet says it is actively looking to hire 1,000 new cadets.

The Luton-based LCC has re-activated its ‘Generation easyJet Pilot Training’ scheme for the first time since the start of the pandemic. The aim of the programme is to train 1,000 recruits over the next five years to become pilots and join the airline from 2024.

As part of the recruitment drive, easyJet says it is trying to challenge stereotypes in a bid to attract a more diverse pool of candidates. A parent, former gymnast and DJ, who are also real life easyJet pilots, are among those appearing in a new advertising campaign to spark interest in the initiative.


The airline is particularly keen to hear from women, noting that just 6% of commercial pilots worldwide are female. Since the launch of the airline’s Amy Johnson Initiative in 2015 – named after the British aviation pioneer – easyJet has almost doubled the number of female pilots in its ranks but is looking to go further.

Mother of two, Captain Iris de Kan stars in one of the new adverts alongside her five-year-old daughter Kiki. The airline draws parallels with the multi-tasking skills needed to bring up a child, with those required on the flight deck.

Speaking at the launch of the new initiative, Captain Iris de Kan said: “It’s important that girls have visible role models so we can combat job stereotypes and show that anyone with the motivation and passion can turn their skills to being an airline pilot. I love the responsibility and challenge that comes with my job – but it’s not as challenging as juggling the demands of a five-year old and a little baby at home!”


Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, added: "We are delighted to be reopening our pilot training programme again for the first time since the pandemic hit and will see us recruit over 1,000 new pilots in the coming years.

“We continue to focus on challenging gendered stereotypes of the career having doubled the number of female pilots flying with us in recent years. We also acknowledge that whilst we have made progress, there is still work to do. Increasing diversity in all of its forms in the flight deck is a long-term focus for easyJet and so we will continue to ensure we lead the industry on this issue.”

In line with almost every passenger airline, the impact of COVID-19 meant easyJet had to freeze pilot recruitment, with many of those already in the job enduring temporary pay cuts. The carrier now reports it is “aiming to be back to near pre-pandemic levels this summer and much sooner than industry predictions suggested”.

While the programme accepts aspiring pilots with little to no flying experience, those interested in applying for the scheme should note the following entry criteria:

  • Be aged 18 or over to commence training (by course start date)
  • The right to work with unrestricted access across EEA, EU, UK and Switzerland 
  • Hold a minimum of 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) Grade C or above, including maths, science and English language
  • Be fluent in English (verbal and written)
  • Minimum height 5’ 2” (157cm) with maximum commensurate with Airbus flight deck requirements
  • Be able to obtain an EASA or CAA Class 1 medical as required for the relevant license

For more information about the programme and to apply, click here.