As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
“United is leading the industry in the training, recruitment and hiring of the next generation of talented commercial pilots and the progress we’ve made at United Aviate Academy after just one year is another example of an airline where good leads the way,” said Scott Kirby, CEO, United Airlines. “I’m so proud of this first class of graduates – they’ve taken an important first step in their career and they reflect our commitment to hiring people who exceed the highest professional and safety standards. I look forward to eventually welcoming them to our United team and I can’t wait to see them flying our new United Next planes in the years to come.”
Recruiting and training pilots aligns with United’s goals to invest in infrastructure, training and aircraft. Recently, the carrier purchased more widebodies than any airline in U.S. history and its plans to continue to recruit, train and hire new pilots will support that growth.
The grads begin their next steps toward a prosperous future in aviation, continuing to build flight time and leadership experience in the academy’s career development ecosystem. Some will work as Aviate instructors to reach the 1,500 required flight hours and others will venture to other participating flight schools and universities. From there, many will work at a United Express carrier, an Aviate-participating Part 135 operator, become Fleet Technical Instructors and more, with the goal to become a United pilot in about six years after United Aviate Academy graduation.
United and JPMorgan Chase & Co. worked together to create a scholarship fund in 2020, with Boeing committing funding for the program this year. Thanks to these efforts, United Aviate Academy received more than 29,000 applications. Currently, more than 280 students, at nearly 75 percent women or people of color, study at the school, creating memories and traditions like the “Pool Dunks,” celebrated each time a student completes a solo flight for the first time.
The future is brighter than ever. Learn more at united.com.
United Aviate Academy at a Glance
- United partners with select organizations to find candidates for scholarship opportunities, including Sisters of the Skies, National Gay Pilots Association, The Latino Pilots Association and more
- Multiple aircraft hangars
- 40 late-model Cirrus SR-20 series single-engine aircraft
- 7 FRASCA flight simulators
- Dormitory rooms for student housing, with room for expansion
- Ideal weather conditions for year-round training
- Ample office space
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