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Sunday, June 4, 2023

United officially opens its Flight Academy

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The first class of United Aviate Academy students is 80 percent women or people of color, exceeding the airline’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030, with at least half of them being women or people of color.

Unprecedented commitment to training will drastically increase access to lucrative and satisfying employment while maintaining United’s world-class safety and training standards.

At Phoenix Goodyear Airport, United CEO Scott Kirby, United President Brett Hart, and other officials were on hand to officially launch the new school and welcome kids.

United Aviate Academy, the only major U.S. airline with its own flight training school, opened today and welcomed a historic inaugural class of future pilots, with 80 percent of them being women or people of color.

United Aviate Academy is a critical component of the airline’s plan to train 5,000 new pilots by 2030, with at least half of them being women or persons of minorities.

While maintaining United’s world-class safety standards, this unprecedented training investment will greatly extend access to this lucrative and fulfilling job.

United announced its ambitious United Next strategy last summer, which aims to improve the United flying experience by adding more than 500 new narrow-body aircraft to its fleet to coincide with the expected revival in air travel. To fulfill this demand, United expects to hire at least 10,000 new pilots by 2030, with around 5,000 of them coming from United Aviate Academy.

At the Phoenix Goodyear Airport today, United Chief Executive Officer Scott Kirby and United President Brett Hart were joined by Federal Aviation Administration Deputy Administrator Brad Mims and other government officials to greet the new students.

United’s plan to assist break down some of the hurdles to the entrance was also highlighted by the group, which included targeted recruiting, strategic alliances, and scholarship and financial aid options.

“Our pilots are the best in the industry and have set a high standard of excellence,” said Kirby. “Recruiting and training even more people who have that same level of talent, motivation and skill is the right thing to do and will make us an even better airline.

I couldn’t be prouder of this first group of students and look forward to meeting the thousands of talented individuals who will pass through these doors in the years to come.”

Unfortunately, for many people, being a pilot is not only financially out of reach, but also unthinkable. Only 5.6 percent of pilots are women, and only 6% are people of color, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In the United States, obtaining a commercial pilot’s license costs around $100,000, and becoming an Airline Transport Pilot necessitates 1,500 hours of flight time, which is a significant commitment.

United and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have renewed their commitment to fund nearly $2.4 million in scholarships for future aviators at United Aviate Academy, as announced last year.

The airline also works directly with the following groups to inform potential pilot candidates about the benefits of becoming a pilot and to identify applicants for scholarship opportunities:

  • Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals
  • Sisters of the Skies
  • The Latino Pilots Association
  • The Professional Asian Pilots Association

United employs over 12,000 pilots, and captains of Boeing 787 and 777 aircraft can make more than $350,000 per year. Additionally, United pilots have one of the highest 401(k) match rates in the industry, with a match of 16 percent of base income.


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