US airline United buys own flight school

United Aviate pilot training

United Airlines has expanded its Aviate pilot programme by buying its own flight training academy and expects to graduate 300 pilots a year.

The flight training academy that United has acquired is currently operating as Westwind School of Aeronautics in Phoenix, Arizona.

“We have developed the Aviate program in collaboration with the Air Line Pilots Association, International to have greater influence on the next generation of aviators at United,” said Captain Bebe O’Neil, United’s managing director of Aviate.

“Launching our own academy provides us with the unique opportunity to not only ensure we maintain the ideal number of quality candidates within our pilot pipeline, but also play a significant role in recruiting, developing and welcoming those with diverse backgrounds to the United family.”

In addition to launching the flight academy, United plans to reduce financial barriers by offering attractive financing to qualified individuals.

Additionally, United plans to launch a scholarship programme specifically focused on encouraging women and minorities to consider joining the United family. The airline will provide more details regarding these financing options as they become available.

Aviate was launched last year by United. Those who apply to Aviate and are successful in the selection process will receive a job offer with United. Aviate also provides those who aspire to a career as a United captain with the most direct route to achieving that goal.

United says its Aviate career path programme offers pilots competitive benefits, including:

  • The most direct path within the industry to a major airline, with an Aviate regional partner minimum requirement of 24 months and 2,000 hours
  • More options in programme entry points throughout a pilot’s career and choice of select United Express carriers
  • Increased transparency and clarity along the path from programme entry to flying for United
  • Improved career development, mentoring and access to United pilots and learning tools
  • Immediate inclusion in the United family, with access to senior leadership, site visits and tours, and certain travel privileges.

United Aviate