United Airlines launches recruitment program to entice military pilot veterans

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United Airlines is turning to military veterans to address the issue of pilot shortage. 

The Chicago-based airline has announced the launch of a recruitment program to provide active-duty US military pilots conditional job offers as a First Officer.

United described the program as “unique”, because it provides a secure landing place for program participants while they complete their service to the United States and work toward meeting all the airline’s hiring requirements.  

Under the United Military Pilot Program, the airline said that successful candidates must first take part in an interview, and then complete all required flight training and certification, before joining the company.

According to United, an important element of its program is that candidates do not need to hold an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate (ATP) at the time of application. 

Applicants can obtain their ATP before taking up a post with United, providing flexibility for service members.

“At United we are committed to investing in individuals who have served and are serving our country – whose military skills and background are invaluable to our airline,” Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, said in a press statement.

“Launching this program is a win-win: our airline gets direct access to some of the best, most talented aviators in the world, and military pilots – and their families – get the time they need to plan their civilian career while still serving,” Kirby added. 

United Captain Michael Bonner, managing director of aviate and pilot strategy and himself a former US Air Force and Navy pilot, said: “As a former military pilot, I know firsthand how challenging it can be to transition to a civilian commercial pilot, but through this new program we’re providing the necessary tools, resources, and support system to ensure a direct path to the United flight deck.”

“Whether you are an active-duty pilot or approaching retirement, I encourage you to join the largest widebody fleet in the US,” Bonner said.

United currently has over 16,000 pilots, including over 3,000 who have served or currently serve in the US Armed Forces.

More details about the United Military Pilot program can be found here.  

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