People thinking about taking up a career as a pilot are being warned to think again during the Covid-19 crisis.

Pilot’s union Balpa has issued the caution at a time of thousands airline industry lay-offs across Europe due to travel restrictions imposed due to the pandemic.

Balpa took wnat it described as an “extraordinary step” to help avoid students paying upwards of £100,000 for training only to find there are no jobs available at the end.

 Head of membership and careers services Wendy Pursey said: “There are currently 10,000 unemployed commercial pilots across Europe including 1,600 pilots in the UK.

“Many pilots are working part time or on reduced pay to save jobs. And there are already around 200 trainees in flight training schools who were on a path to jobs with easyJet who now have no clear route to even a licence, far less a job.

“This is not a positive picture for anyone whose heart is set on entering this profession. There will be fewer jobs, with more people competing for each one even once this pandemic is over.

“In this situation it would be irresponsible if we did anything other than warn people to consider delaying their flight training at this time.”

She added: “We urge potential pilots to get experience in another profession first which will postpone any training until the industry is in a more robust shape, provide additional skills and experience and also give them another avenue to fall back on.

“For anyone that still wants to proceed they should consider the modular training route which does provide the opportunity to learn and work in other fields.”