APPG steps up battle for more affordable pilot training.

The number of students in Britain learning to become airline pilots is far below potential – due to much higher training costs in this country compared to elsewhere in the world.

Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation (APPG-GA), have now met with a senior Government minister in a bid to reverse the trend.

One current estimate from experts at Boeing states that the world will need 800,000 new pilots in the next 20 years.

Afterwards the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick MP, said he would see what could be done to make training cheaper.

Campaigners want to see VAT and Excise Duty slashed or scrapped for students wanting to become pilots. They also pressed the minister to get the Government to take off the 20 per cent VAT on AvGas, which is used in training aircraft.

Parliamentary Chair of the APPG’s STEM Jobs and Skills Working Group, Dr Rupa Huq MP, said: “The Government must accept the cost of flight training is unacceptable for much of the population.

“No other form of education or training has VAT added to it and it is deeply unfair aviation is penalised in this way. A reduction at the very least is essential if we want to see a much-needed reversal in the number of people learning to become airline pilots.”

Currently it costs students wanting to become a commercial pilot more than £120,000. But, only 12 per cent of students currently receive any form of funding.[1]

The Government itself recognises that the UK is unlikely to help meet this target, because of the UK’s high training costs.[2]

APPG Chair Grant Shapps MP said: “With 45 percent of future airline pilots having their education supported by their parents, it is essential the Government commits to a policy that allows for people from all backgrounds to afford flight training.”

He added: “By taking the relatively simple step of removing the VAT from AvGas the Government would show Britain can still lead the way in training the pilots in the future.”

The meeting follows the recent publication of the Department for Transport Green Paper ‘Aviation 2050’ which discusses the possibility of removing VAT from flight training to reverse this worrying trend.

[1] Aviation 2050, Department for Transport, p.103.

[2] Ibid.,

Notes to Editors

1. For further information, please contact APPG-GA Deputy Head of Secretariat George Lawley at or on 0207 219 8497.