Hero pilot set for the dole

AN airline pilot hailed a hero after helping to crash-land a stricken passenger jet at Heathrow Airport is set to be on the unemployment register.

Peter Burkill, who was praised with his co-pilot for saving the lives of 136 passengers aboard the Boeing 777, took voluntary redundancy from British Airways in the summer to spend time with his family.

The pilot, who lives in Worcester, is said by his wife Maria to be confident of finding work soon despite being rejected by Korean Air, which requires that applicants do not have an “accident or incident” on their CV.

Captain Burkill, 45, was widely commended for helping to bring the jet down safely after its engines failed on the approach to Heathrow in January last year.

His wife, who works for East Midlands Ambulance Service, said the couple were frustrated at Korean Air’s rules.

But Ms Burkill added that her husband — who will receive jobseeker’s allowance of £64 (€71) per week — had been shortlisted by other airlines and was waiting for news of interviews.

The 35-year-old mother-of-three said: “He has applied to other companies, but they are not interviewing at the moment.

“We are not moaning and we are not worrying about it.”

Ms Burkill, who said her husband was considering making after-dinner speeches, went on: “I would like to think he will be flying, if he chooses to fly, in the next six months.”

The emergency medical technician, a former British Airways stewardess, stressed the couple did not want to appear to be “whingeing” about Korean Air’s decision or their own finances.

“At the time it was disappointing, but they have got a protocol and that is what they are following.

“It is frustrating because Pete is a pilot and loves flying, but we never expected him to be flying before the end of the year and we appreciate we are in a far more fortunate position than many other people.”

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