United Airlines Acquires Flight Academy to Help Train Next Generation of Pilots

By Paul Riegler on 10 February 2020
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United Airlines announced the purchase of the Westwind School of Aeronautics, a flight academy, in Phoenix, Arizona and that it will rename it the United Aviate Academy.

The move will allow the airline to create a pipeline for some of the 10,000 future pilots it expects to hire in the coming decade.  It will be part of its Aviate recruiting program that the Chicago-based carrier announced last year that connects pilots-in-training with a conditional job offer at the airline.  Pilots would otherwise have to rise through the ranks at regional carriers or complete military service before applying to United.

“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,” said Captain Bebe O’Neil, who serves as managing director for the Aviate program.

United will be the only major U.S. carrier to own and operate a flight-training academy.

The airline said that having the flight academy would allow it to increase the percentage of women and minorities who become pilots.

No flight experience is required to enter the academy and pilots can apply to the Aviate program once they have earned a private pilot’s license.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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