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Airline hiring agreements accelerateAirline hiring agreements accelerate

Regional carriers are hiringRegional carriers are hiring

By many indications, the regional airlines are hiring pilots as fast as they can. Prospects for students looking to make a career in the airlines have never been better, a fact verified by four recent announcements.
PSA Airlines and LeTourneau University have an agreement to funnel students to the airline.

Hiring airlines and universities are striking agreements that guarantee the student some sort of access. In the last boom that was usually an interview once flight training was complete. But things are now so desperate for the regional carriers, many are offering jobs to students while they are still in training, with the expectation that the student work for the airline once he or she reaches the magic 1,500 hours.

During EAA AirVenture at the end of July, LeTourneau University and PSA Airlines signed one such agreement. It calls for PSA to begin interviewing students after they complete their instrument ratings, and an employment offer comes sometime before they graduate. Then the student instructs at LeTourneau, even though according to a school representative, the salary and benefits are covered by PSA. The airline is looking to expand its fleet through next year, as well as fill the ranks of pilots who have moved up to the major airlines.

Piedmont Airlines and Averett University recently struck a similar deal. Students will have the ability to flow from Averett to Piedmont, and up to their partner, American Airlines. Tuition reimbursement  and a $15,000 employment bonus are part of the deal.

Meanwhile, ExpressJet Airlines is looking outside the traditional university environment for students at local flight schools. Nashville Flight Training recently said that it became the first partner school in the airline’s Preferred School Program. Benefits are similar to those at university programs.

Much of the pilot shortage is driven by senior captains at the major airlines who must retire. Delta continues to look for pilots in new ways, and recently established the first ATP-CTP course. The course is a requirement to take the ATP exam, including for those coming from the military. Delta says it is the first major airline to offer the course, which it sees as a way to ease the transition from military to civilian flying, and take care of a requirement for the airline to be able to employ experienced military pilots.

Ian J. Twombly

Ian J. Twombly

"Flight Training" Editor
AOPA Pilot and Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly joined AOPA in 2003 and is an instrument flight instructor.
Topics: EAA AirVenture

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