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United launches Aviate recruitment program

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.

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 cabin crew members.

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.

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