ATP, Frontier Form Pilot Pathway Program


Frontier Airlines and ATP Flight School have launched a pathway program for ATP graduates and flight instructors looking for employment as first officers at Frontier. Through the Frontier Direct Program, ATP says graduates will work as flight instructors at the school until reaching 1250 to 1500 hours total flight time, at which point recommended individuals will interview with Frontier Airlines. Selected candidates will then receive a conditional offer of employment and, upon reaching 1,500 hours, attend ATP’s enhanced Certification Training Program (CTP).

“In the Frontier Direct Program, ATP graduates and instructors progress from ATP straight to the flight deck at Frontier after enhanced ATP CTP training that includes additional Airbus A320 full-motion flight simulator experience,” ATP said. “The new partnership offers pilots an accelerated path to a rewarding career with Frontier while providing Frontier access to a high-quality pool of qualified pilot applicants, dedicated future employees, and advocates of the Frontier brand.”

Four ATP graduates have already completed the program as a proof of concept. With the addition of Frontier, ATP has formed hiring partnerships with 24 airlines including United, Delta, SkyWest and Horizon. The school currently has 53 training centers across the U.S.

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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  1. Pilot pathway programs would seem to have been a much more needed solution during a real pilot shortage than in the present environment. While many furloughed pilots may be holding out to go back to work for their previous airline badged with their original seniority numbers or better, many won’t be quite that fortunate. On the face of it, pilot pathway programs in this environment beg the question of whether or not these programs aren’t actually just puppy mills to breed pilots who will come into the system at less compensation for life than it would take to hire previously qualified and experienced people. 53 training centers across the U.S.?

  2. Yep, 1500 hours in the pattern and a few hours in a full motion sim. Puppy pilot mills for sure and the only one benefitting will be the schools. How about 400 hrs. instructing and 1100 hours flying single pilot freight on an older twin with leaky boots, intermittent windshield heat and props that require “ICEX11” application prior to the night’s flight. That would be more of a commitment to show the candidate is serious about the career.

  3. Some pilots can’t help themselves from sounding like the cliche older generation of pilots that love to hate on younger guys. The world has changed. Get over it. This kind of reductionist thinking by the previous replies ignores the great many dedicated flight instructors who worked tirelessly to train pilots coming into to ATP with sometimes zero hours under very tight deadlines. Many instructors I worked with were also dedicated to self improvement and were never satisfied to stop learning and developing both as pilots and instructors themselves. Not all students who come to ATP make it through. Not even close. Many cannot handle the pace and are forced out. The DPEs at my old location held our students to demanding standards that went beyond puppy mill-level knowledge and stick and rudder skills. Also if you read carefully you may have noticed FOUR…I repeat….FOUR ATP alumni were passed through from ATP into the hands of Frontier. You have to have an exemplary record as an instructor, pilot and strong reputation to even be considered for the program. In today’s environment with modern technologically advanced aircraft it might just be the case the airlines don’t need only guys who flew old beat up twins but articulate and bright young pilots who can handle the exacting stick and rudder standards of the same FAA that tests all of us and who can be expected to exercise great ADM and prove to be excellent systems managers. Get over yourselves guys.

    • Your childish rant, which is a sequence of illogical non sequiturs, undermines your argument that recent graduates are superior in some way. They’re just inexperienced.

      The reality is that unions and airlines reward experienced pilots, and all airliners currently flying are “modern technologically advanced aircraft.”

      Luckily for US-based airline candidates, the 1500-hour rule will put almost anybody with a pulse who can pass the sim ride into the cockpit after the pandemic.

    • C.K., your use of “cliche older pilot generation of pilots who love to hate on younger guys” is cliche in itself and frankly short sighted, ignoring the value of real life experience prior to flying the complex passenger carrying stuff for hire. Reality is that the very best in primary and early secondary training as preparatory as it is is not a fair substitute for the experience of dealing with the passage of the seasons, the passage of days to nights, and having had to fix what when bump in the day or the night while flying for hire alone. I too am a grad of a quality part 141 school, but that part 141 training was only foundational in being fair to the passenger riding in back who had the right to not worry about my level of real life experience post 141 school graduation.

      Beyond that, the entire point of my earlier comment was that there are already experienced ready and willing airline pilots perfectly qualified to fill those Frontier front seats. So this training initiative must be in response to something other than a pilot shortage, and I’m guessing that would be financial. 53 training centers across the US?