Air BP, the international aviation fuel products and service supplier, has named its fifth Sterling Pilot Scholar as 18-year old Kristoff Ahlner from Shenfield in Essex.
The scholarship is valued at around £10,000 and aims to assist aspiring UK pilots like Kristoff achieve their Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL). As the industry faces a global pilot shortage with 790,000 new civil aviation pilots needed to fly the world’s fleet over the next 20 years, Air BP’s programme is all the more important.
Kristoff joined The Royal Air Force Air Cadets (Hutton Squadron) aged 13 and simultaneously began gliding at Essex and Suffolk Gliding Club. He has been captivated by flight and keen to become a pilot ever since.
He has just completed his flight training at Stapleford Aerodrome in Essex following A Levels and intends to study Aeronautical Engineering at university prior to pursuing a career as a pilot.
Kristoff said: “I am incredibly excited but also very grateful to Air BP for their generosity, without which I simply could not have pursued my dream career to be a pilot.”
Speaking at the event, Jon Platt, CEO Air BP added: “We are delighted to welcome all five scholars and many congratulations to our latest scholar, Kristoff. We look forward to hearing about your future progress. We are proud of all our scholars and their achievements to date.
“BP is committed to encouraging young people to gain a better understanding of the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) education for their futures and the wider aviation industry of which the Sterling Pilot Scholarship programme is a great example.”
Kristoff joined his fellow past scholars at a special event to mark five years of the programme which was held at Air BP’s global headquarters in Sunbury-Upon-Thames, UK.
Past scholar, Zoё Burnett who is currently a First Officer at Flybe, said: “The Air BP scholarship has meant that I am able to achieve my dream of becoming a commercial airline pilot. I am reminded of this each time I see the Air BP truck refuel an aircraft.
“During the course of my work, I have also learnt about Air BP’s commitment to safe operations and I am impressed by the company’s efforts as well as its contribution to ensuring safe refuelling.”
Air BP works with the Honourable Company of Air Pilots (HCAP), formerly known as The Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators (GAPAN), to organise the Air BP Sterling Pilot Scholarship because of its excellence in promoting the availability of scholarships to a wide public audience and its history of conducting a rigorous and fair selection process.
Platt added: “We will continue to invest in this programme in support of aspiring pilots and in support of our industry.”
Air BP has named the Scholarship after its globally recognised fuel payment card, the Sterling card. The Sterling card provides easy access to fuel for thousands of clients and makes life simpler for private pilots, aircraft management companies and corporate flight departments at any of Air BP’s 800 locations globally.