United Airlines has embarked on an ambitious plan to train 5,000 new pilots by 2030, at least half of them women and people of color. Backed by scholarship commitments from United Airlines and JPMorgan Chase, United Aviate Academy hopes to create opportunities for thousands of students, including women and people of color to pursue a career as a commercial airline pilot.
United is currently the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school.
“Over the next decade, United will train 5,000 pilots who will be guaranteed a job with United, after they complete the requirements of the Aviate program – and our plan is for half of them to be women and people of color,” said United CEO Scott Kirby. “We’re excited that JPMorgan Chase has agreed to support our work to diversify our pilot ranks and create new opportunities for thousands of women and people of color who want to pursue a career in aviation.”
To break down the financial barriers that limited access to the airline pilot career path for generations of women and people of color, United has committed to fund $1.2 million in scholarships. The airline’s credit card partner, JPMorgan Chase has also committed $1.2 million to support women and people of color who are accepted to United Aviate Academy.
“We are proud to partner with United to support the Aviate Academy’s mission to enable thousands to pursue their dream as a commercial airline pilot,” said Ed Olebe, President of Chase Co-Brand Cards. “Investing in this program directly aligns with our efforts to advance racial equity by expanding career development opportunities and making tangible progress in a field where women and people of color are underrepresented.”
United has also finalized partnerships with three HBCUs, Delaware State University, Elizabeth City State University and Hampton University, to identify top talent and recruit them into the Aviate program. Through the partnership, students will have the opportunity to join Aviate and connect with dedicated ambassadors and coaches who will help guide them on the path to a United flight deck.
The United Aviate Academy’s first class of 20 pilots will begin their studies in the third quarter of 2021, with the class graduating in the first half of 2022.