A British man claims he was denied a commercial airline pilot’s license for being HIV-positive.
He was allegedly not given the necessary medical certificate required as part of the process.
The anonymous Glaswegian was reportedly offered a spot in the airline’s training program, but later wasn’t granted a certificate by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) due to European regulations. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has long considered changing the regulations due to protestations from campaigners.
The aspiring pilot — who already earned a training scheme with EasyJet — says he found it “utterly devastating” that he couldn’t get the license, calling the policy “outdated” and “inherently discriminatory.”
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When it comes to getting a CAA medical certificate, having Type 1 Diabetes or having undergone an organ transplant are also considered restrictions. Any already-working pilot diagnosed with HIV would inexplicably only be allowed to be a co-pilot.
Right now, student pilots are required to complete a course performing flights solo — which means anyone that’s training and happens to be HIV positive wouldn’t be able to get a full license.
“We support a rule change in this area,” says a CAA spokesperson, “where it is safe to do so, and will continue to work with EASA and HIV experts to reassess this regulation, with a view to enabling applicants to obtain an initial Class 1 medical certificate.”
“A rule change takes time,” added EASA. “It needs to be considered by experts, and we need to plan it and prioritized by performing impact assessment.
“However, EASA and the NAA (National Aviation Authority) medical experts agreed that a rule change should be considered due to the availability of new HIV medications.
These medications could provide for a more flexible regulatory approach and allow the need for an OML restriction to be determined on a case-by-case basis, largely dependent on the stage of the HIV.
In future, this would allow some prospective pilots having HIV to obtain a license without an OML restriction.”
EasyJet says they’d welcome a change to the rules “where it is safe to do so.”
Sadly here in America being an airline pilot has now fallen to the same thankless level as a tractor-trailer driver (a job I did for eighteen years). The pay versus the responsibility is enough to make a high school dropout say no to both of those careers. I know this is Britain we are talking about but those rules are a bit archaic.
Is this rule in place because of HIV or because of HIV medications? I don’t know what the side-effects of HIV meds are, but a lot of drugs make it hard to walk in a straight line, much less fly a plane. Or are there conditions caused by HIV that could impair someone’s ability to pilot safely? I’m totally on board with barring people with certain physical and mental health conditions from flying a plane, especially commercially.
I was thinking more along the lines of, if there were an accident, and he could potentially expose the virus to others.
If they were worried about passenger exposure I would think the HIV-positive flight attendants would be barred because they’d be much more likely to interact with a passenger in an accident. I ‘m sure the ban has something to do with the safe operation of the plane.
@Joseph. What kind of brain fart was that? Do you really think that’s what it’s about?
The FAA in the US dropped a ban on HIV+ pilots back in 1998.
Damn you, Queerty. I clicked on this article because I thought that was a photo of the pilot. That guy in the photo is smoking hot.
I’m surprised they haven’t posted a disclaimer, especially if it’s from a stock library, as most state something along the lines of “you may not show a person depicted in the image in sensitive scenarios that could reasonably be considered offensive or unflattering to that person (e.g., related to mental and physical deficits, sexual or implied sexual activity or preferences, crime, physical or mental abuse or ailments)
Outdated regulations. An HIV positive person flight attendant poses no threat. It’s ridiculous to humor that type of questioning.
Someone who is HIV+ is safer today than someone whose status is Unknown. Thus the HIGHER risk person would be someone who is NOT HIV+. So this is a very outdated policy.
They are also safer than someone whose status ‘was’ Neg the last time they checked (because of unknown activity – within 3 months prior to testing, or anytime since that Neg status determination was made.)
Medications given today reduce Viral Loads to Undetectable, which even the CDC has determined & declared also means Untransmittable.
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