General & Commercial Aviation: Sortie 101-301
Of the 21,000 civil aircraft registered in the UK, around 96% are engaged in General Aviation (GA) operations, and annually the GA fleet accounts for between 1.25 and 1.35 million hours flown. The single most common class of aircraft is the fixed-wing light aircraft associated with traditional GA, but the main area of growth over the last 20 years has been in the use of more affordable aircraft, such as microlights and home built aeroplanes, along with smaller helicopters.
There are 28,000 Private Pilot Licence holders, and 10,000 certified glider pilots. Some of the 19,000 pilots who hold professional licences are also engaged in GA activities. Although GA operates from more than 1,800 aerodromes and landing sites, ranging in size from large regional airports to farm strips, over 80 per cent of GA activity is conducted at 134 of the larger aerodromes. The GA industry, which is around 7 per cent the size of its CAT cousin, employs 12,000 people, and contributes £1.4 billion to the UK economy.
Commercial aviation is the part of civil aviation (both general aviation and scheduled airline services) that involves operating aircraft for hire to transport passengers or multiple loads of cargo. EasyJet, British Airways, Etihad and Virgin Atlantic are just a few examples of Commercial Aviation companies. Due to an aging pilot population (retirements) and greater demand for passenger and cargo flying – Commercial Aviation is experiencing a record demand for new pilots. Some of these companies have implemented innovative training and job programs to attract new pilots.