United Airlines to Open Flight School and Plans to Increase Diversity

United Airlines began accepting applications for its flight academy on Tuesday, as part of an effort to hire 10,000 pilots by 2030 as more of its airmen reach the federal mandatory retirement age of 65.

The airline announced in February 2020 that it bought a flight school, but the Covid pandemic forced it to suspend training plans. United is now resuming its plans to re-fill the pilot ranks and prepare for growth as travel demand returns. Last week, it said it will begin hiring pilots again, starting with 300 candidates whose hiring process was halted by the pandemic.

United’s flight school is intended to provide training to pilots with little or no experience. United said it wants to train 5,000 pilots and aims for half of them to be women and people of color. Just over 7% of United’s more than 12,000 pilots are women and 13% are people of color, United said.

The first class of 20 pilots will begin in the third quarter with a graduation date sometime in the first half of 2022, United said.

A pilot walks alongside United Airlines planes as they are parked at the gates of San Francisco International Airport on April 12, 2020 in San Francisco, California.

Justin Sullivan | fake images

United and other airlines have increased the hiring of pilots in recent years. Students will be able to apply for United’s Aviate recruiting program, which extends conditional job openings to candidates as they gain experience during training and work in smaller companies. It can take a student about five years from starting flight school until they get a job at United.

United declined to say how much the flight academy would cost students, but said it would fund $ 1.2 million in scholarships “to break down financial barriers that limited access to an airline pilot career for generations of women and people of color. JPMorgan Chase said it will provide another $ 1.2 million in scholarships to help increase diversity.


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