BALPA is the professional association and registered trade union established to represent the interests of all UK pilots.

With over 40 million flying hours, we are the largest collective resource of commercial aviation skills and qualifications in the UK.

Pilot Union


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BALPA represent over 10,000 pilots and are recognised in 23 different companies; that’s over 85% of all commercial pilots flying in the UK. As an organisation of highly-trained flight deck professionals, BALPA has unrivalled access to the expertise and experience of its 10,000 members. Many pilots form specialist study groups or committees to support our professional and technical services. Together, they represent a body of knowledge covering the following areas.

The Independent Pilots Association is a Professional Association that was formed by Flight Crew, promotes the welfare and interests of Flight Crew and is owned and managed by Flight Crew.

Membership fees are fixed and not based on your salary. We have a dedicated Financial Team in the Independent Pilots (Financial Services), who will look after all your financial queries’ and arrangements including pensions and loss of licence insurance.

European Pilot Unions

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We offer assistance to all pilots who join the Association in many ways from help in compiling CVs, to assistance in securing a job through our many diverse contacts
We offer legal assistance of up to £20,000 to our Full members as well as legal advice. There is also a facility to top up the Legal cover to £250,000.
The origins of the Association can be traced to the early 1990’s when a self-help group was organised at the Gatwick Job Centre for pilots out of work following the collapse of Air Europe in 1991.