American airline United has surprised the aviation industry by launching a new pilot training and recruitment campaign in the midst of the pandemic.
It’s only for US citizens but United Airlines is planning to train 5,000 pilots by 2030 with at least half of them women and people of colour.
United’s own Aviate Academy will also offer students who need additional financing private student loans to ensure that no highly-qualified, highly-motivated, eligible applicants will be turned away solely because they can’t afford to enroll. United Aviate Academy expects to enroll 100 students in 2021.
“Over the next decade, United will train 5,000 pilots who will be guaranteed a job with United, after they complete the requirements of the Aviate programme – and our plan is for half of them to be women and people of colour,” said United CEO Scott Kirby.
To break down the financial barriers that limited access to the airline pilot career path for generations, United has committed to fund $1.2m in scholarships. The airline’s credit card partner, JPMorgan Chase, has also committed $1.2m to support women and people of colour who are accepted to United Aviate Academy.
United’s Aviate pilot development programme is built to accommodate pilots of all experience levels – from those with zero hours to professional pilots already flying for one of our regional partners.
For instance, an aspiring aviator who joins the United Aviate Academy in Phoenix with no prior flying experience can become a licensed pilot within two months. Within a year, they can start earning income after receiving their commercial pilot licence. Within five years, they can become a United pilot.
The United Aviate Academy’s first class of 20 pilots will begin their studies in the third quarter of 2021, with the class graduating in the first half of 2022.