Delta Expands Pilot Pipeline


With an expectation to hire 8,000 pilots over the next 10 years, Delta this week announced it has developed new career-path options to help ensure it has plenty of applicants for those jobs. “Delta conducted several years of research to create a pilot outreach and pathway program that will inspire and attract the next generations of high-quality talent,” said Steve Dickson, Delta’s vice president for flight operations. “We listened to feedback from students, parents, faculty, administrators and Delta employees to help overcome barriers for potential pilot candidates, such as career-path uncertainty and the CFI shortage.” The new Propel program will provide a defined, accelerated career path for future pilots, Dickson said. The program comprises a college path, a company path and a community outreach effort to identify and support aspiring pilots in kindergarten through high school.

The college path will partner with eight universities that offer aviation programs. Select candidates will be provided a “qualified job offer,” providing a defined career path, an accelerated timeline and a Delta pilot mentor. Candidates can choose from several paths, including flying for a Delta Connection carrier, a job-share flying for Delta Private Jets and instructing at an aviation college, or flying military aircraft in the Air National Guard or Reserves. The company path will provide current Delta employees with a career transition opportunity and support if they choose to pursue a pilot career. Both programs will begin to accept applications in August. For community outreach, the company plans to work with a variety of aviation organizations and reach out to students with scholarships, engagement and mentoring. Delta said it is still exploring options for helping prospective pilots to finance their training. More details can be found at Delta’s website.