HIV positive man can train as pilot after rule change

The Glasgow man had been banned from flying over his medical status.

Flyer: The man can now start training with easyJet (file pic).
Flyer: The man can now start training with easyJet (file pic).

An HIV positive man is “over the moon” after aviation chiefs changed the rules to allow him to train as a commercial pilot.

He had not been able to take up a training place with easyJet because his medical status prevented him from obtaining the required certificate.

However, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has now changed its rules so that having the infection is not a bar to obtaining the class one medical certificate which commercial pilots must have before they can fly.

Trainees will be eligible for a medical certificate with a “multi-pilot operations” restriction, meaning there needs to be another pilot in the cockpit with them.

The man, from Glasgow, who wishes to remain anonymous but tweets as Anthony, said he was “elated” at the change, which will let him pursue a dream he has held since starting to fly aged 15.

He said: “I’m absolutely over the moon that they have been able to act so quickly to give a short-term solution and commit to the long-term change of the rules.

“When I was first diagnosed with HIV people make a point of telling you HIV should not be a barrier to you doing anything you want to do, but for me it was.

“For a long time I’ve been thinking HIV is a barrier to the way I want to live my dream but because of this rule change the barrier has gone and the dream can be pursued.”

His training place with easyJet has been extended until June and the 29-year-old plans to take it up as soon as possible.

Announcing the rule change, CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said: “In relation to HIV, we have made representations to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the governing body responsible for medical standards, and asked them to undertake the necessary rulemaking activity and associated research without delay, that we hope will lead to a permanent change to the current regulations.

“We recognise that this research will take time and we will continue to offer our full support to this work in any way we can.

“In the meantime, the CAA will issue initial class one medical certificates with a restriction to multi-pilot operations to applicants wishing to become commercial pilots, subject to the applicants passing their class one medical assessment.”

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