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About the role:

A captain is responsible for flying the aircraft and ensuring passengers and cabin crew's safety on board. Their foremost duties include making sure all of the aircraft systems work efficiently. They inspect the flight before take-off to check the fuel supply and navigation system.

  • Career paths:
    "Level 1","Level 2","Level 3"
  • Salary average:
    £28,000 - £140,000
  • Upskilling path:
    Academic (Bucks New University, Kingston University London) Training (FTA Global, L3Harris Flight School)


An aircraft captain works for specific companies to transport people and cargo on fixed schedules. On top of acquiring the pilot licence (alongside a number of other checks,) a captain will need to acquire a type rating in order to fly a particular type of plane. A captain is primarily accountable for the safety of the aircraft. Keeping a check of the aircraft’s technical performance, operating navigation systems, and liaising with ground crew and ATC are crucial responsibilities and duties of a captain. Usually, there will be two pilots aboard an aircraft, the captain and first officer. However, on long haul flights, there can be 3 to 4 pilots on board, including second officers. The captain is the pilot in command, while the first and second officers will work alongside him as supporting officers. The captain will share flight tasks and delegate responsibilities to all members of the crew on board (in and out of the cockpit). After acquiring the necessary flight training, you will start your career as a first or second officer, and then by gaining experience, flight time and seniority, you can become a captain. Most domestic airlines will use a seniority system to dictate who is next in line to become a captain, (considering you have all the other necessary requirements) to avoid favouritism and other undemocratic processes. To move up the ranks in seniority, you either need senior pilots retiring above you, or new hires starting beneath you.

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