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United Airlines Will Soon Open A Flight School To Help With Shortage In Pilots
To help combat the ongoing shortage of pilots, United Airlines has decided to take matters into its own hands. The major U.S. carrier will soon open its own flight school, making it the first out of the major carriers in the country to do so.
Last week, the airline signed an agreement to purchase the Westwind School of Aeronautics in Phoenix, Arizona. They will, in turn, use this as an extension of the current Aviate pilot development program.
“This is a primary training flight academy, it takes people with zero hours and builds them all the way up to the professional pilot credentials that are required to become an instructor, and eventually, an airline pilot,” Curtis Brunjes, United’s managing director of pilot strategy said.
The goal is to recruit 10,000 new pilots by accepting applications from those who are new to the profession as well as those who already have their private pilot’s license but are in need of more flight hours to advance to the next level.
Currently, the price of earning a commercial pilot license is around $90,000 due to the 250 hours of flying experience that is required. Under this program, United will work with major financial institutions to provide financial assistance to those in need, something that has caused problems for many in the past.
The airline also hopes that by launching this program, it will increase diversity among its class of pilots.
“We believe that we’ll hire 10,000 pilots in the next ten years, and our regionals will hire maybe double that amount. We think that this program will alleviate any shortage that we would have had. And that’s its purpose,” Brujes said.