United Airlines, the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, will begin accepting applications today as it embarks on an ambitious plan to train 5,000 new pilots by 2030, at least half of them women and people of color. Backed by scholarship commitments from United Airlines and JPMorgan Chase, United Aviate Academy will create opportunities for thousands of students, including women and people of color to pursue a career as a commercial airline pilot, one of the most lucrative careers in the industry.
In addition, for those United Aviate Academy students who may need additional financing, United has partnered with Sallie Mae to offer private student loans to ensure that no highly-qualified, highly-motivated, eligible applicants will be turned away solely because they can’t afford to enroll. United Aviate Academy expects to enroll 100 students in 2021.
“Over the next decade, United will train 5,000 pilots who will be guaranteed a job with United, after they complete the requirements of the Aviate program – and our plan is for half of them to be women and people of color,” said United CEO Scott Kirby. “We’re excited that JPMorgan Chase has agreed to support our work to diversify our pilot ranks and create new opportunities for thousands of women and people of color who want to pursue a career in aviation.”
To break down the financial barriers that limited access to the airline pilot career path for generations of women and people of color, United has committed to fund $1.2 million in scholarships. The airline’s credit card partner, JPMorgan Chase has also committed $1.2 million to support women and people of color who are accepted to United Aviate Academy.
“We are proud to partner with United to support the Aviate Academy’s mission to enable thousands to pursue their dream as a commercial airline pilot,” said Ed Olebe, President of Chase Co-Brand Cards. “Investing in this program directly aligns with our efforts to advance racial equity by expanding career development opportunities and making tangible progress in a field where women and people of color are underrepresented.”
United will leverage its long-standing relationships with a variety of organizations, including the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, Sisters of the Skies, the Latino Pilots Association and the Professional Asian Pilots Association to help identify and steer highly qualified, diverse candidates to the United Aviate Academy. As key partners, these organizations will select the applicants to receive the scholarships and grants funded by United and JPMorgan Chase.
HBCU Affiliate Partnerships
United has also finalized partnerships with three HBCUs, Delaware State University, Elizabeth City State University and Hampton University, to identify top talent and recruit them into the Aviate program. Through the partnership, students will have the opportunity to join Aviate and connect with dedicated ambassadors and coaches who will help guide them on the path to a United flight deck.
Aviate: Love to fly, born to lead
United’s innovative Aviate pilot development program provides those who aspire to a career as a United captain with the most direct route to achieving that goal. Aviate is built to accommodate pilots of all experience levels – from those with zero hours to professional pilots already flying for one of our regional partners.
For instance, an aspiring aviator who joins the United Aviate Academy in Phoenix with no prior flying experience can become a licensed pilot within two months. Within a year, they can start earning income after receiving their commercial pilot license. Within five years, they can become a United pilot.
The United Aviate Academy’s first class of 20 pilots will begin their studies in the third quarter of 2021, with the class graduating in the first half of 2022. Graduates will then have opportunities to further pursue their careers while working specifically within the Aviate ecosystem at partner universities, professional flight training organizations and United Express carriers.
Aviate also provides support and coaching for pilots to develop into leaders who exemplify the professionalism, level of excellence and commitment to providing safe, caring, dependable and efficient service that United expects from its pilots.
United’s Aviate career path program offers pilots competitive benefits, including:
- The most direct path within the industry to a major airline, with an Aviate regional partner minimum requirement of 24 months and 2,000 hours
- More options in program entry points throughout a pilot’s career and choice of select United Express carriers
- Increased transparency and clarity along the path from program entry to flying for United
- Improved career development, mentoring and access to United pilots and learning tools
- Immediate inclusion in the United family, with access to senior leadership, site visits and tours, and certain travel privileges