Alaska Airlines Launches Ascend Pilot Academy


Alaska Airlines and regional carrier Horizon Air have partnered with Oregon-based flight school Hillsboro Aero Academy to launch the Ascend Pilot Academy (APA). Aimed at addressing “a growing pilot shortage coupled with increased travel demand,” APA is expected to train up to 250 students a year. Alaska and Horizon are estimating that they will need to hire around 2,000 additional pilots by 2025.

“Launching the Ascend Pilot Academy addresses a critical need to build a larger and more diverse talent pipeline and remove historical barriers to entry for aspiring pilots,” said Horizon Air President Joe Sprague. “Our goal is to create a program that enables students to complete an intensive training and time-building program, with a clear and established path toward flying for Horizon as a first officer.”

According to Alaska Airlines, APA cadets will see benefits including access to low-interest financial aid, a $25,000 stipend to cover the cost of a commercial pilot license and mentorship from Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air pilots. APA graduates will also get a conditional job offer at Horizon Air along with “an opportunity to fly with Alaska Airlines after meeting certain criteria.” Hillsboro Aero Academy has campuses in Hillsboro and Redmond, Oregon, and operates a fleet of 95 aircraft.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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