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United Airlines Starts Flight Training Academy

UAL’s new academy insures focus on safety and answers to ongoing pilot shortages

February 7, 2020

United Airlines is expanding its innovative Aviate pilot program the acquisition of Aviate Academy. The purchase agreement allows USA 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 becoming a United pilot. The airline anticipates hiring more than 10,000 pilots by 2029.

In addition to launching the flight academy, United plans to reduce financial barriers to joining the program and making the path more accessible to a range of 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. United also plans to launch a scholarship program specifically focused on encouraging women and minorities to consider joining the United family.

Aviate partners currently include:

·   Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

·   Lufthansa Aviation Training Academy

·   Hillsboro Aero Academy

·   FlightSafety International

·   Boutique Air

·   ExpressJet

·   Air Wisconsin

·   Western Michigan University

·   University of North Dakota

·   US Aviation Academy

·   Ameriflight

·   ATP Flight School

·   CommutAir

·   Mesa Airlines

Aviate also provides support and coaching for pilots to develop into leaders with commitment to providing safe, caring, dependable and efficient service.  

In 2019, United and United Express operated more than 1.7 million flights carrying more than 162 million customers. A founding member of Star Alliance, legacy carrier operates 791 mainline aircraft and 579 regional aircraft.