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United launches Aviate recruitment program

Airline aims to hire more than 10,000 pilots

United Airlines established Aviate, a pilot recruitment program with a goal to offer aspiring and established pilots a fast path to becoming a first officer "and, ultimately, a captain,” the airline noted in an October 3 news release.

Solid flying skills, aviation education, and flight experience can lead to a career in aviation. iStock photo.

The pathway to a major airline calls for a minimum of 24 months and 2,000 hours with an Aviate regional partner. The initiative is designed to allow the most direct path to flying for United and “the quickest progression from college to the rank of first officer of any major airline program in the industry,” the company said.

Bryan Quigley, United’s senior vice president of flight operations and chief pilot, pointed out an “unparalleled opportunity” for career pilots in the face of continued growth combined with the expected retirement of half of the company’s 12,500 pilots.

The appetite for travel has been well documented by leading aviation industry analysts including Boeing. The aircraft maker’s annual Pilot and Technician Outlook forecast the need for 804,000 new civil aviation pilots within the next 20 years. Boeing also predicted the need for 769,000 new maintenance technicians and 914,000 cabin crewmembers.

Details of the Aviate program include coaching and pilot development, training for the airline’s culture of professionalism and leadership, and “safe, caring, dependable and efficient” customer service, the airline said.

The initiative includes partnerships with university aviation programs; training centers; and United Express affiliates Air Wisconsin, ExpressJet, Mesa Airlines, and CommutAir.

David Tulis

David Tulis

Senior Photographer
Senior Photographer David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a private pilot with single-engine land and sea ratings and a tailwheel endorsement. He is also a certificated remote pilot and co-host of the award-wining AOPA Hangar Talk podcast. David enjoys vintage aircraft ad photography.

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