Law must change after HIV pilot banned from flying

A320 cockpit

Pilot loses dream job after being accepted on training programme 

13th December 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

HIV Scotland has called for a change in legislation after a man with the condition was banned from becoming a pilot.

The man, who remains anonymous, was refused the medical certificate needed to gain a commercial licence by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) after being offered a place on Easyjet’s pilot training programme.

It said European legislation prevented it from granting medical certificates to people with HIV.

However the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said it was considering a rule change.

The man said the disappointment was worse because he believed there was "no barrier if you're HIV positive to doing anything now that you wanted to do before".

"I had started to accept the diagnosis because of that.

He added: "In 2017, someone who is HIV positive and on successful treatment is medically no different to someone who isn't HIV positive."

Pilots who already hold a commercial licence but later develop HIV would still be able to operate.

However their licence would change and only allow them to fly with a co-pilot. This is known as an operational multi-crew limitation (OML) licence.

In a statement, EASA said: "A rule change takes time, 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."