A British man has been refused a medical certificate needed to gain a commercial airline pilot’s licence because he is HIV positive.
The Glaswegian – who wants to remain anonymous – had been offered a place on an airline’s training programme, but the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) couldn’t grant him the certificate because of European regulations.
Campaigners have called for the regulations to be changed, and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have stated that they are considering it.
The pilot hopeful said it was “utterly devastating” when he found out he could not obtain his pilot’s licence.
He had already earned himself a training scheme with EasyJet.
The man added that the policy which is currently in place is “outdated” and “inherently discriminatory”.
Along with being HIV positive, having had an organ transplantation or having type 1 diabetes are other restrictions when it comes to the CAA granting medical certificates.
If a pilot should come diagnosed with HIV after while they are already working in the field, their licence would be reduced to them only being allowed to fly with a co-pilot.
As it currently stands, student pilots must complete a course in performing solo flights, so anyone who is training and is HIV positive wouldn’t be able to do that to get their full licence.
“We support a rule change in this area, 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 CAA spokesperson said.
EASA added: “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.”
As for EasyJet, they would also welcome a rule change “where it is safe to do so.”