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United Airlines Celebrates Graduation of First Class of Academy Pilots

United Airlines, the only U.S. carrier to own a flight school, is today celebrating the historic first graduating class of flight academy pilots. The inaugural graduating class includes 51 students, marking the next step towards the carrier's goal to train around 5,000 new pilots by 2030.


United Aviate Academy Celebrates Historc First Graduating Class of 51 Pilots - Courtesy United Airlines/PRNewswire

On Wednesday (January 25, 2023), United Airlines, the only U.S. carrier to own a flight school, announced the historic graduation of their first class of flight academy pilots. The inaugural graduating class includes 51 students, and marks a milestone in the carrier’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030. The United Aviate Academy currently has over 240 students. United hired approximately 2,400 pilots in 2022, and plans on hiring another 2,500 this year. The carrier currently employs over 14,000 pilots and Boeing 777 and 787 Captains can earn more than $350,000 per year, plus a rich benefit package. United pilots also receive a 401(k) match equaling 16 percent of base pay, one of the highest in the nation.


In today’s announcement, United Airlines’ CEO, Scott Kirby, said,


“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. 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.”


The 340,000 square-foot United Aviate Academy facility at Phoenix Goodyear Airport features a fleet of late model Cirrus SR-20 series single-engine aircraft with advanced safety characteristics, nearly 50,000 square feet of office space, multiple aircraft hangars, and dormitory rooms for student housing. The campus offers favorable weather for year-round flight training, and is also in close proximity to many Phoenix area auxiliary airports.


Graduates can continue to continue to accrue flight time and leadership experience while continuing within the United Aviate pilot career development program’s ecosystem. Some graduates will work as Certified Flight Instructors at the academy while building the necessary 1,500 required flying hours, while others will build experience at participating flight schools or universities, including Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Purdue University and Hampton University. The United Aviate Academy then encourages graduates to eventually fly for a United Express carrier, take on leadership roles at a participating Part 135 operator, or become a Fleet Technical Instructor with United, as they complete their training. Graduates can expect to become a mainline United pilot within around six years of graduating from United Aviate Academy.


Source: United Airlines/PRNewswire

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