An HIV positive man can now pursue his dream of becoming a commercial pilot.
Anthony (not his real name), from Glasgow, said he was elated that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has now reversed a decision not to grant him a medical certificate.
As QNews reported last month, he was hoping to become a pilot after EasyJet offered him a position in their training program before CAA denied the request due to his HIV status.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling confirmed the rule change in the House of Commons last week.
“Today the rules are being changed. Whilst I cannot give a certain outcome to an individual case, this will mean that people who suffer from conditions that make it difficult for them to become commercial pilots will find it easier to do so as the Civil Aviation Authority I think are taking a more sensible approach to this matter,” he said.
“I am totally overwhelmed,” Anthony told BuzzFeed. “I never expected this to happen so quickly. I’m grateful that it’s happened and very conscious of the fact that it’s not just me, it’s anyone with HIV that can now become a pilot. It’s monumental.
“Anyone who has felt restricted by the condition, who’s in my situation, can now follow their dreams.”
He also thanked his supporters on Twitter.
Overwhelmed, shocked, elated and humbled. Words alone can’t express my gratitude to @nathansparkling @HIVScotland @PatrickStrud @BBCAndrewBlack @BritishHIVAssoc @beckshuss for their support. Let’s share the great news and let EVERY HIV+ aspiring pilot in the UK, FLY https://t.co/DgFBjuiaCK
— Anthony (@PilotAnthonyGLA) January 18, 2018
The CAA initially said the problem stemmed from European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) regulations which state that pilots with certain medical conditions – including being HIV positive, organ transplantation or having type 1 diabetes – are only allowed to fly with a co-pilot.
However, after a review of the rules, the CAA said it was satisfied this should not prevent an HIV positive person obtaining a class 1 medical certificate to begin training for “multi-pilot operations” subject to them passing the class 1 medical assessment.
EasyJet’s offer has been extended until June and Anthony hopes to take up his place on the training course as soon as possible.