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Do BA have many black, indian or asian flight crew?

Do BA have many black, indian or asian flight crew?

Old Dec 3, 10, 12:04 am
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Do BA have many black, indian or asian flight crew?

Every time I have flown on BA and seen a member of the flight crew they have been white, anglo saxon chaps or, to a much lesser extent, white, anglo saxon chapesses.

I see quite a few members of the flight crew because on my regular route (DOH-BAH-LHR) there is a change at BAH and so the DOH-BAH crew leave through the upper deck and the BAH-LHR crew arrive, again through the upper deck.

BA seems to have quite a few cabin crew of african, indian or asian heritage. And these days Britain is a highly multi-cultural society so I would expect to see these groups represented in the flight crew too although the evidence suggests that this might not be the case. So do BA have many flight crew whose heritage is not white, anglo saxon? And if not, how come?
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Old Dec 3, 10, 12:19 am
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I have seen a fair share of crew of african and asian heritage on short haul as well as flights to North America. Of course YMMV and I guess in your case it obviously has.

I was also under the impression that flights to India had asian crew as well, but I may be wrong on this. I would image that flights to tokyo and china would have japanese/chinese BA crew on board.
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Old Dec 3, 10, 12:55 am
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Originally Posted by RayG View Post
I have seen a fair share of crew of african and asian heritage on short haul as well as flights to North America. Of course YMMV and I guess in your case it obviously has.

I was also under the impression that flights to India had asian crew as well, but I may be wrong on this. I would image that flights to tokyo and china would have japanese/chinese BA crew on board.
I think the OP is asking specifically about flight deck crew (captains, FOs, etc) as opposed to cabin crew.
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Old Dec 3, 10, 1:02 am
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Oops. My bad. I guess its time for bed.
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Old Dec 3, 10, 2:10 am
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There is A captain Ahmed at LGW -he flies the 737, and he would appear to be of Asian heritage. Not noticed any other minority ethnic groups. I would like to think that BA would recruit whoever is the most capable pilot, regardless of gender, age, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief, etc.

If you want an e.g. of a multicultural airline, look at Emirates. But they're not exactly a champion of diversity or liberalism (not a criticism of EK, just an observation.)
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Old Dec 3, 10, 2:28 am
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I think being an airline pilot is still one career with huge barriers to entry which are probably increasing as time goes by (anyone who doubts this go to the other pplace it seems if you wan't to be a pilot you now have to pay for your own training etc even more so than previously).

This does discriminate, not directly based on skin colour, but on family wealth, class, whatever you want to call it, and ethnic minorities (especially first generation immigrants) tend to fall into lower socio economic groups.

However things are changing. In my workplace there are alot of Ugandan Indian gents who came to the UK in 1972 - the same generation of guys who you'll see driving the airport bus if you land at a remote stand at LHR. Almost without exception their kids are at good unis / training to be doctors, lawyers, engineers etc - so taking this group as a sample second and subsequent generation immigrants seem much more likely to get professional jobs.

I guess the fairest thing to do would not be to look at the flight deck population as a whole - but the intake each year - since it almost is still a job for life and by definition will change more slowly.
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Old Dec 3, 10, 3:33 am
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Originally Posted by Sixth Freedom View Post
So do BA have many flight crew whose heritage is not white, anglo saxon? And if not, how come?
There is definitely a black first officer as one operated one of my flights. I suspect the reason for there not being many is the % of non-white, non-Anglo Saxon applicants and also the % of people wanting to become a pilot. I've personally met a few pilots working for UK airlines who aren't white Anglo Saxon, but the overwhelming majority, including trainees, have been white.
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Old Dec 3, 10, 3:37 am
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Originally Posted by Sixth Freedom View Post
... do BA have many flight crew whose heritage is not white, anglo saxon?
Have you asked the most obvious holder of such information?
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Old Dec 3, 10, 4:00 am
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Not sure about ethnicity, but in my experience BA seems to have proportionately higher number of female flight crew than other airlines I have flown on. And though not flight crew, I have seen a very good mix in the cabin crew including a black and an asian CSD in the last year. And I am sure that there are many more.

Somebody who is good at stats can probably tell us what the chances are of you actually having them on your flights. I think (from my poor memeory of stats) that even if the mix was 50:50 you could still have a statistical possibility of flying a lot and always get just one flavour of crew ethnicity.
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Old Dec 3, 10, 4:32 am
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If you look at most UK carriers, you will notice that the majority of flight crew are white. Just a thought, could it have anything to do with the fact that pilot training costs an arm and a leg. I seem to recall that it runs to something around 50k. Look at any other career that requires a significant up front expenditure with minimal guarantee of return and see what the overwhelming proportion are. Take lawyers. Fair number of them are non white, but they are still a minority. Overall, the demographics of the UK are that the high earnings groups are predominantly white. Hardly surprising when you consider that the major influx of non-white migrants only really started in the mid 1950's. The key attractions of the UK were better wages and less persecution (I'm thinking specifically of the Ugandan asians for the latter). Snag was that they were, in the main, picking up the lower paid jobs in the UK. Takes more than two generations to build a substantial affluent middle class from that base.
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Old Dec 3, 10, 4:49 am
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Originally Posted by Sixth Freedom View Post
So do BA have many flight crew whose heritage is not white, anglo saxon? And if not, how come?
Yes, we have a very good cross section of humanity flying with us. And would you believe we also have gay flight crew....
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Old Dec 3, 10, 5:32 am
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My mate is South African [white] and he flies 744Fs [748s soon] for GSS [BAWC].

Out of the 500+ flights I've taken, I've only ever seen two ethnic pilots on BA flight decks: A321 female SFO - Indian [LHR > EDI] & B772 male FO - African-British mixed race [BGI > LGW].

From a diversity point of view, you could include the Underwood brothers, although British are of Chinese-English parentage. Tony flies for Virgin and Rory is a former RAF fast jet pilot.

Obviously America leads the way with OBAP - The Organization of Black Airline Pilots. They inspire more black youth to become involved in aviation, and run the successful Aviation Career Education (ACE) camps [a nationally recognised program co-sponsored by the FAA and NBCFAE].

Last edited by Need4Speed; Dec 3, 10 at 5:53 am Reason: Typo
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Old Dec 3, 10, 5:51 am
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Originally Posted by markinberks View Post
Just a thought, could it have anything to do with the fact that pilot training costs an arm and a leg. I seem to recall that it runs to something around 50k.
Try doubling that then add some more!

The likes of EasyJet & Ryanair take up to 50K from rookies fresh from flight school, for type rating and line experience [pay to fly scheme].

Last edited by Need4Speed; Dec 3, 10 at 5:57 am Reason: numb fingers
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Old Dec 3, 10, 6:01 am
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Originally Posted by rareair View Post
However things are changing. In my workplace there are alot of Ugandan Indian gents who came to the UK in 1972 - the same generation of guys who you'll see driving the airport bus if you land at a remote stand at LHR. Almost without exception their kids are at good unis / training to be doctors, lawyers, engineers etc - so taking this group as a sample second and subsequent generation immigrants seem much more likely to get professional jobs.
As a child of one of those immigrants (Kenya not Uganda, but that makes little difference), from my own experiences, I can say that you are spot on. My father worked in one of the professions and my mother looked after me.

We have two pilots in the family and there was much hand-wringing from all when aged 11, I said I wanted to be a Barrister or a Pilot.

The overt and covert 'chats' from people ensuring that I was dissuaded from the latter and encouraged towards the former continued until I abandoned the idea of being a Pilot. I'm very happy as a Barrister and delighted that I had some choice (some don't) but I often wonder which path I would have followed without interference; I suspect it would have been the bar.

The other possible factor is one raised by a friend who is a Pilot in the RAF. There is/was a steady stream of ex-RAF who convert to flying civil aircraft. There are relatively few non-white RAF Pilots and so the trend continues.
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Old Dec 3, 10, 3:37 pm
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I always wanted to be a pilot but being of indian (via east africa) descent, it was extremely difficult to ask my dad, who came to this country with nothing, to mortgage the house he has worked so hard for to just blow it on a training course with no guarantees in the future and to add insult to injury, just when i thought i saved enough of my own money to go ahead, i found out i had a congenital eye problem which rules me out of getting a class 1 licence.

Instread i am now a very satisfied civil servant working my socks off to save every penny for my future children's private education fund (it makes a big difference!)

Coming back to the original question, i think it is a fact that most ethnic origin brits are kids of people who came for a better life and jobs like being a pilot with large up front costs are definately a huge barrier. I was always brought up to make sure that i have money tucked away for a rainy day.

Having a large bank balance makes a big difference in life and i would challenge anyone who states that it does not.
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