United Airlines officially opens its flight training school

by James Wilkinson

United has become the only major US airline to own a flight training school following the official opening of the United Aviate Academy.

The opening welcomed a historic inaugural class of future pilots, 80% of whom are women or people of colour.

United Chief Executive Officer Scott Kirby said the United Aviate Academy is a key part of the airline’s goal to train about 5,000 new pilots at the school by 2030, with at least half women or people of color.

This unprecedented training commitment, he said, will dramatically expand access to this lucrative and rewarding career while upholding United’s world-class safety standards.

Last summer, United unveiled its ambitious United Next strategy to revolutionise the United flying experience and introduce more than 500 new, narrow-body aircraft into its fleet to match the anticipated resurgence in air travel.

United plans to hire at least 10,000 new pilots by 2030 to meet this need with about 5,000 of those coming from United Aviate Academy.

“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.”

United currently has about 12,000 pilots, and Captains of United’s widebody Boeing 787s and 777s can earn more than US$350,000 per year.