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United Airlines buys flight-training academy to speed up hiring of 10,000 pilots

United Airlines buys flight-training academy to speed up hiring of 10,000 pilots

Old Feb 5, 20, 1:55 pm
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United Airlines buys flight-training academy to speed up hiring of 10,000 pilots

United Airlines is buying a flight-training academy in an effort to speed up hiring of more than 10,000 pilots by the next decade as about half of its aviators approach the federally mandated retirement age of 65.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/05/unit...00-pilots.html
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Old Feb 5, 20, 1:59 pm
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UA press release

United Airlines to Become Only Major U.S. Carrier To Own and Operate a Flight Training Academy Focused on Training and Developing Aspiring Pilots

Enables airline to have more visibility and direction over recruitment, development and training of aspiring pilots in the earliest stages of their careers
United will disrupt the current pilot career development model and drive enrollment of women and minorities specifically through scholarships and partnerships with other flight training centers, universities and other air carriers

CHICAGO, Feb. 5, 2020

United Airlines today further expanded its innovative Aviate pilot program by signing a purchase agreement to become the only major U.S. carrier to own a flight training academy. The United Aviate Academy will give the airline more visibility and direction over the recruitment, development and training of future pilots, enabling United to increase the percentage of women and minorities who become pilots. 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 achieve their dreams of 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, making the dream of becoming a United pilot even more accessible to more individuals. 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 program specifically focused on encouraging women and minorities to consider joining the United family. The airline 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

Flight Safety International

Ameriflight

Boutique Air

ATP Flight School

ExpressJet

CommutAir

Air Wisconsin

Mesa Airlines

Florida Institute of Technology
Aviate: Love to fly, born to lead

Last year, United launched Aviate, its innovative pilot recruitment and development program. Those who apply to Aviate and are successful in the selection process will receive a program acceptance job offer with United. Aviate also provides support and coaching for pilots to develop into leaders who exemplify the professionalism, level of excellence and commitment to providing safe, caring, dependable and efficient service that United expects from its pilots. Additionally, Aviate provides those who aspire to a career as a United captain with the most direct route to achieving that goal.

United's Aviate career path program offers pilots competitive benefits, including:
  • The most direct path within the industry to a major airline, with an Aviate regional partner minimum requirement of 24 months and 2,000 hours
  • More options in program entry points throughout a pilot's career and choice of select United Express carriers
  • Increased transparency and clarity along the path from program entry to flying for United
  • Improved career development, mentoring and access to United pilots and learning tools.
  • Immediate inclusion in the United family, with access to senior leadership, site visits and tours, and certain travel privileges
For more information on Aviate, please visit unitedaviate.com
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Old Feb 5, 20, 2:11 pm
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Originally Posted by n198ua View Post
....the federally mandated retirement age of 65.
Wow!
I always thought it was much younger than that. Not sure why though.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 3:23 pm
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Originally Posted by narvik View Post
Wow!
I always thought it was much younger than that. Not sure why though.
Was 60 but changed some years ago.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 4:06 pm
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I guess this is a lot cheaper than paying regional jet pilots a living wage.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 4:19 pm
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AA already has a cadet academy, and DL has their own program as well. Plenty of foreign airlines have programs. This isn't really a new concept by any stretch.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 4:32 pm
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Originally Posted by Sykes View Post
I guess this is a lot cheaper than paying regional jet pilots a living wage.
Have you seen what they're paying these days? It's a lot more than just five years ago.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 4:46 pm
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Originally Posted by LarryJ View Post
Have you seen what they're paying these days? It's a lot more than just five years ago.
Yup, my buddy is about to enter IOE at SkyWest now. It's a lot better than it used to be, but it's still not great, especially for the first 2-3 years.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 6:25 pm
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Originally Posted by Sykes View Post
Yup, my buddy is about to enter IOE at SkyWest now. It's a lot better than it used to be, but it's still not great, especially for the first 2-3 years.
Skywest doesn't have the highest pay but it's still a base pay of about $41,000 the first year with many earning a $7,500 experience bonus. Upgrade is about 18 months and boosts the base pay to about $74,000. Those who want to work more can earn more.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 6:39 pm
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Originally Posted by gmt4 View Post
AA already has a cadet academy, and DL has their own program as well. Plenty of foreign airlines have programs. This isn't really a new concept by any stretch.
This would be the first flight training actually owned by a US carrier, similar to the European Flight Academy (Lufthansa) in Phoenix. The AA Cadet program similarly offers ab initio training, but is just a marketing relationship with several flight schools combined with preferential financing and an AA mentor. Delta has a career-path program with collegiate flight programs but nothing for someone "off the street".

It's a somewhat out-of-the-box approach for an airline that's mindlessly, constantly blasted for being an industry follower, rather than innovator, so some praise is due.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 8:47 pm
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I was looking at this, but it requires either a long stretch of CFI based hours building, or a stint with a very small regional air taxi service, I certainly prefer the latter, but neither of the options operate where I live. I would have preferred the pre-Colgan setup where I pay to fly right seat and build the time, but we know it's not a good idea in many situations, hence the rule change.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 8:56 pm
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Apparently, UA hasn't realized with new 1K thresholds, crowded clubs, eliminating lifetime benefits for the club without *G boarding pass, dynamic awards, gray salmon, etc, that they won't need 10,000 pilots.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 9:18 pm
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European Flight Academy (Lufthansa) in Phoenix.
Why is Lufthansa’s training academy in Arizona?
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Old Feb 5, 20, 10:26 pm
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
I was looking at this, but it requires either a long stretch of CFI based hours building, or a stint with a very small regional air taxi service, I certainly prefer the latter, but neither of the options operate where I live. I would have preferred the pre-Colgan setup where I pay to fly right seat and build the time, but we know it's not a good idea in many situations, hence the rule change.
The Gulfstream model, in which many pilots in the right seat were *paying* to be there!
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Old Feb 6, 20, 1:20 am
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Originally Posted by returnoftheyeti View Post
Why is Lufthansa’s training academy in Arizona?
They come to our state because of our aviation-friendly weather. Initial flight training happens mostly in visual meteorological conditions, which the EU is deprived of for most of the year. In AZ, they can train their pilots in a much shorter timeframe than in the EU.

They - LH is not the only one - contribute tons of money to the economies of our state and our country. Their student pilots speak English; they are professional, friendly, well aware that they are a guest in our country, and they act accordingly. We wouldn't want to see that industry go away.
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