United Airlines to train aspiring pilots at expanded Aviate flight academy

United Airlines has announced the expansion of its Aviate pilot program with an agreement to own its flight training academy, giving the airline more visibility and direction over recruitment, development and training of aspiring pilots, the company said.

United will disrupt the current pilot career development model and drive enrollment of women and minorities specifically through scholarships and partnerships with other flight training centers, universities and other air carriers.

The United Aviate Academy will enable the airline to increase the percentage of women and minorities who become pilots. United expects approximately 300 students to graduate from the United Aviate Academy in its first full year of operation.

The flight training academy — currently operating as Westwind School of Aeronautics in Phoenix, Arizona — will be an extension of the airline´s Aviate program, a pilot development and recruitment program that offers aspiring aviators the most direct path to becoming a United pilot. The airline anticipates hiring more than 10,000 pilots by 2029.

United and United Express operate approximately 4,900 flights a day to 362 airports across six continents. In 2019, United and United Express operated more than 1.7 million flights carrying more than 162 million customers.