United Launches Pilot Recruitment Program


United Airlines announced the launch of a new pilot recruitment program on Thursday. Called Aviate, the program offers “structured career pathways” for pilots and promises “the fastest path within the industry to a major airline” with a regional partner minimum requirement of 24 months and 2,000 hours. According to United, Aviate is open to “pilots at all stages of their journey—from college training to regional airline flying.”

Citing retirements, attrition and projected growth, United says it anticipated hiring more than 10,000 pilots by 2029. “With nearly half of our 12,500 pilots retiring in the next decade, combined with a period of strong growth at our airline, United is uniquely positioned to offer pilots the opportunity to get where they want to go in their careers faster than ever,” said United Senior Vice President of Flight Operations and chief pilot Bryan Quigley.

The airline says successful Aviate applicants will receive a conditional job offer with United along with coaching and career development provided by the program. They will also have opportunities for access to senior leadership, site visits and tours, and some travel privileges. Current Aviate regional partners include Air Wisconsin, ExpressJet, Mesa Airlines and CommutAir.

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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. Who pays for the training? That question is not answered in this article. If United is then maybe the alleged “pilot shortage” might be real. If the pilot candidate does or has to sign a training agreement…

  2. Boeing predicted in 2012 a worldwide need for something like 600,000 commercial airline pilots, 679,000 maintenance technicians, and 814,000 cabin crew members by the year 2035. Airbus echoed the projection in essence agreeing to a flying and non flying personnel shortage and implemented a worldwide ab initio program. If true, flight training needs to crank up in the U.S. supported with programs like the GI Bill. I benefited by it as a Vietnam era veteran and in return I’ve helped, in a small way, promote New-Starts in Aviation. (Go to: Facebook.com/CVYAEP)

    Airlines could afford to promote careers in aviation and invest on flying and non flying personnel training to meet the goal. I just don’t see how this demand can be met unless there is a subsidy.

  3. As a current part 121 pilot I predicted this back in 2009 ! Why did it take the industry this long to figure it out ? Actually this will just underscore the airlines industry’s need to move to single pilot airplanes. Which is exactly what my next prediction is btw. First we’ll see it with the cargo haulers then some regionals and then everyone………

  4. Back in the early 60s, United said “get your private in 90 days & you are hired”. This was for grad engineers, & a given time for the commercial.
    I did train a couple of these applicants.
    Others remember this & can give more details.
    BTW – no min hrs req’d.