The Stelios Disabled Pilots’ Scholarship 2019 winner announced


The Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, in partnership with the Air League, has officially chosen James Washington as the winner of its first ever scholarship for disabled pilots. The Stelios Disabled Pilots’ Scholarship is designed to enable those with a disability the chance to achieve their full Private Pilot Licence (PPL) during 2019. Aerobility, a partner charity of the Air League, will be delivering the scholarship this summer.

James recently became interested in flying and a trial flight with Aerobility confirmed this passion. He is keen on making a difference in other people’s lives and hopes to do this with his flying and other interests. Currently, James is a Grade 1 wheelchair basketball coach and has volunteering experience in the art department of Treloar School and College of Disabled Young People, Alton, Hampshire.

On winning the scholarship, James said: “I am honoured and delighted to have been chosen as the winner of the Stelios Disabled Pilots’ PPL Scholarship. The scholarship means I will be able to achieve something that I never dreamt would be possible. I hope to be able to encourage and inspire others with disabilities through my journey to take to the skies, and maybe even go onto instructing myself in the future!”

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, commented: “As someone who has benefitted from the success of easyJet, when it comes to selecting good causes to give back to society, aviation is one of our key areas of focus. Having worked for many years in helping people with disabilities to start their own business – helping the same people realise their dream of flying as private pilots, is a good cause. This is about focusing on their abilities not disability. The sky is the limit now.”

Mike Miller-Smith, CEO of Aerobility added: “Aerobility are extremely grateful to Stelios Philanthropic Foundation for the opportunity to award a PPL Scholarship to one of our disabled community. The chance of achieving a PPL is something that many disabled people feel is beyond their limits and we can now offer them the chance to break down those limitations and realise their dreams. It opens up a whole new world to them from the air and if they can fly, what else can they achieve!”

Notes to Editors:

The Air League was formed in 1909 and its mission is to generate national understanding of the importance of aviation and aerospace to the UK. The organisation inspires young people and provides them with opportunities to increase their knowledge and experience through being the UK’s largest provider of flying scholarships, bursaries and outreach. Over the past decade more than £2 million of scholarships for young people, as well as, the disabled and veterans has been delivered.

The Leading Edge, for members under 35, complements the Air League Trust’s formal scholarships and bursaries programmes and acts as a wider network for people interested in careers in the multiplicity of disciplines within the aviation and aerospace industries.

The core objective of the Air League is to be “an influential champion for the future growth of aviation and aerospace in the UK”. The charity is committed to being at the forefront of influencing public policy by taking a leading role in the debate on aviation and aerospace in the UK. The Air League supports the UK’s aviation and aerospace communities through the Leading Edge, Air League in Parliament, receptions, lectures and policy papers which articulate the advanced technologies and crucial industry skills which are vital to the economic success of the UK.

Stelios is best known for creating  easyJet in 1995 when he was just 28 years old This pan-European low cost airline has revolutionised European air travel over the last two decades and now flies over 88.5 million passengers annually. In 2000 Stelios floated easyJet on the London Stock Exchange in order to fund future fleet growth but he and his family have always remained the largest shareholders owning about one third of the shares. As easyJet PLC became one of the biggest UK companies by market value (recently part of the FTSE100 with a market cap of c£3.5bn), Stelios successfully campaigned to set a new dividend policy that now distributes half of annual profits by way of dividends to all shareholders.

The easy family of brands ( A strategic decision made during the easyJet  flotation meant that ownership of the ‘easy’ brand, (including easyJet) is retained  in Stelios’ private investment vehicle,  easyGroup, based in Monaco and London. As a result easyGroup now enjoys a steady and predictable income from licensing the easy brand to many businesses, including the airline, in return for a royalty fee based on turnover.  The easy brand has been extended and licensed to many other sectors – all dedicated to offering consumers more value for less. These include: easyHotel, which was also floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2014, easyBus, easyCar, easyProperty, easyOffice, easyFoodstore, easyCoffee, easyGym, easyStorage, with many more in the pipeline, all of which contribute to easyGroup’s royalty income stream. Stelios continues to take a personal interest in looking for carefully selected business partners with whom to extend the easy brand to more sectors.

For more information on the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, please visit the official website:

For press enquiries contact:

Ishpreet Sundal, Communications and Marketing Manager

The Air League

T: 0207 766 3488 E:

Follow us on Twitter: @TheAirLeague

Richard Shackleton, Communications Director to Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou easyGroup Mob 07905 779799

Tracy Ghori, UK Coordinator, Stelios Philanthropic Foundation Mob 0787 428 2699



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