USA airline United Airlines has signed a purchase agreement to become the only major US carrier to own a flight training academy.
United expects approximately 300 students to graduate from the United Aviate Academy in its first full year of operation.
The flight training academy – currently operating as Westwind School of Aeronautics in Phoenix, Arizona – will be an extension of the airline’s Aviate program, a pilot development and recruitment program that offers aspiring aviators the most direct path to becoming a United pilot. The airline anticipates hiring more than 10,000 pilots by 2029.
“We have developed the Aviate program in collaboration with the Air Line Pilots Association, International to have greater influence on the next generation of aviators at United,” said Captain Bebe O’Neil, United’s managing director of Aviate. “Launching our own academy provides us with the unique opportunity to not only ensure we maintain the ideal number of quality candidates within our pilot pipeline, but also play a significant role in recruiting, developing and welcoming those with diverse backgrounds to the United family.”
In addition to launching the flight academy, United plans to reduce financial barriers to joining the program. The carrier is currently engaging with financial institutions with the goal of making attractive financing terms – such as industry-tailored grace periods and competitive interest rates – available to qualified individuals.
Additionally, United plans to launch a scholarship programme specifically focused on encouraging women and minorities to consider joining United.
The airline says that it will provide more details regarding these financing options as they become available.
Aviate partners currently include: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Western Michigan University; Lufthansa Aviation Training Academy; University of North Dakota; Hillsboro Aero Academy; US Aviation Academy; FlightSafety International; Ameriflight; Boutique Air; ATP Flight School; ExpressJet; CommutAir; Air Wisconsin; Mesa Airlines and Florida Institute of Technology.
Aviate is a pilot recruitment and development programme. Those who apply to Aviate and are successful in the selection process will receive a programme acceptance job offer with United.
Aviate also provides support and coaching for pilots to develop into leaders who professionalism, level of excellence and commitment to providing safe, caring, dependable and efficient service.
Additionally, Aviate provides those who aspire to a career as a United captain with the most direct route to achieving that goal.
United and United Express operate approximately 4,900 flights a day to 362 airports across six continents.
In 2019, United and United Express operated more than 1.7 million flights carrying more than 162 million customers. United operates 791 mainline aircraft and the airline’s United Express partners operate 581 regional aircraft.