United Airlines recruits students for flight academy to fill pilot shortage

United Airlines is recruiting students for its newly opened pilot flight academy located at Phoenix Goodyear Airport (GYD), in Arizona, the United States. The move sees United become the first major American carrier to own a flight school.  

It is predicted that the North American region could face a shortage of around 12,000 commercial airline pilots by 2023. However, speaking to media on January 28, 2022, Scott Kirby, United Airline’s chief executive officer, claimed that opening the United Aviate Academy is expected to help the airline fill the shortage.  

In the longer-term, the American carrier plans to hire 10,000 commercial pilots over the next eight years, half of which are expected to be graduates of its new flight academy.  

The CEO said that the flying school will serve as an instrument for the airline to ensure that the flight crew is trained to the exact qualification required by United Airlines. 

United also expects to train 5,000 new pilots by 2030, with the goal of 50% of those students being women or people of color. 

However, before joining United Airlines as pilots of larger commercial airliners, students will be required to pass a year-long course to allow them to fly for regional airlines such as Mesa Airlines, Skywest, CommutAir and GoJet, which operate shorter flights for United.  


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