British Airline Pilots' Association

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BALPA logo.png
Full name British Airline Pilots' Association
Founded 27 June 1937
Members 10,000
Affiliation TUC
Key people Captain Brendan O'Neal, Chairman; Captain Paul Naylor, Vice-Chairman; Brian Strutton, General Secretary
Office location Middlesex, England
Country United Kingdom

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) is the professional association and registered trade union established to represent the interests of all UK pilots.

BALPA represents over 75% of all professional fixed wing pilots and helicopter aircrew based in the UK[1] - as well as many working overseas. With a membership of over 10,000 professional flight crew,[2] the association holds the largest collective resource of pilot qualification and experience in the UK.[citation needed]

BALPA is one of the founder members of IFALPA, the International Federation of Airline Pilots Associations, which co-ordinates the views and opinions of well over 100,000 flight crew around the globe.[citation needed]

In Europe, BALPA is a founding member of ECA, the European Cockpit Association.[citation needed]

BALPA also works with the Civil Aviation Authority, the Department for Transport, the Department of Trade and Industry and many other bodies where the voice of ‘the pilot' is needed.[citation needed]


The National Executive Council (NEC) is the elected body that is responsible for the association. As well as generating policy and association strategy, the NEC ensures that the organization is run in an efficient, legal and responsible manner.[citation needed]

BALPA is governed by an Annual Delegate Conference (ADC) made up of representatives of the Company Councils and a National Executive Committee composed of elected pilots.[citation needed]


BALPA has recognition agreements with airlines in multiple sectors. BALPA members in each of these companies elect a Company Council that leads a community of members.[citation needed]

There are five sub-committees of the NEC; Organisation, Communication and External Affairs, Membership and Career Services, Industrial Relations and Safety and Security.[citation needed]


To qualify for Full Membership applicants must hold a current professional pilots licence or flight engineers licence issued by the UK or any of the JAA countries, be engaged in British commercial flying and be based in the UK or employed by a UK Company abroad. Alternatively members may qualify as a ground instructor or helicopter winchman employed in British commercial flying.[citation needed]

There are also membership categories available for overseas, retired, military, unemployed and trainee pilots.[citation needed]

Industrial Activity[edit]

BALPA campaigns on a wide variety of issues which affect pilots and the flying public. From the aircraft work environment through to security and safety, BALPA works with the industry and government to ensure that its members and the public are supported.[citation needed]

Air Passenger Duty[edit]

Air Passenger Duty (APD) is the UK Government tax that is charged on all passengers departing from a UK airport. BALPA is an active member of the A Fair Tax on Flying campaign, a coalition of more than 30 leading travel and aviation organisations including airlines, airports, trade associations and destinations who believe that APD is too high and is doing growing damage to jobs, growth and the UK economic recovery.[3]


‘Casualisation’ and the use of contract labour is a growing issue in the aviation industry.[4] BALPA has been campaigning on this issue and have had success in formulating a New Entrant Contract that delivers significant improvements to those entering the profession in easyJet.[5] Driving casualisation out of the whole industry remains one of BALPA’s key priorities.[6]

As part of its campaign to combat the growing use of contingent workers in the aviation industry, BALPA commissioned the Labour Research Department (LRD) in 2012 to work with the union to produce a booklet focusing on the use of contingent workers in airlines where BALPA is recognised. The booklet highlights the legal framework – in particular the Agency Workers Regulations, which became law in October 2011.[7]

Flight Time Limitations[edit]

Flight Time Limitations exist to ensure the safe operation of commercial aircraft and to avoid the onset of pilot fatigue[8]. Pilot fatigue is a state of serious tiredness and exhaustion that reduces a pilots ability to operate safely. 15-20% of fatal accidents related to human errors have listed pilot fatigue as a contributing factor.[9] BALPA has continuously sought to protect high safety standards of Flight Time Limitations in the UK[10].

Organisation in popular culture[edit]

BALPA was featured in the Monty Python's Flying Circus television episode "Déjà Vu" in which Eric Idle portrays the BALPA spokesman in the 'Flying Lessons' sketch.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ UK | Anti-terrorist cockpit doors 'dangerous'. BBC News (2001-10-31). Retrieved on 2013-07-18.
  2. ^ House of Lords - Science and Technology - Written Evidence. (2007-12-12). Retrieved on 2013-07-18.
  3. ^ "Home - A Fair Tax On Flying". A Fair Tax On Flying. Retrieved 2017-06-20. 
  4. ^ ECA reflects on economic crisis implications for aviation | European Cockpit Association (ECA). Retrieved on 2013-07-18.[dead link]
  5. ^ EasyJet agrees pilot recruitment terms with BALPA. (2013-06-07). Retrieved on 2013-07-18.
  6. ^ Casualisation - Breakthrough In Easyjet. BALPA (2008-11-08). Retrieved on 2013-07-18.[dead link]
  7. ^ Casualisation. BALPA (2008-11-08). Retrieved on 2013-07-18.[dead link]
  8. ^ SemiColonWeb. "Flight Time Limitations | PACTS". Retrieved 2017-06-20. 
  9. ^ Fatigue in Accidents | European Cockpit Association (ECA). Retrieved on 2013-07-18.[dead link]
  10. ^ "Flight time limitations (24th February 2012)". Retrieved 2017-06-20. 

External links[edit]