United Airlines has started accepting applications for its flight academy, per an announcement on Tuesday.
The global airline giant says they’re pushing to hire more than 10,000 pilots by 2030 as more are hitting the federally mandated retirement age of 65.
United announced in February 2020 that it acquired a flight school to train new pilots hitting the skies, but the pandemic forced the company to put a temporary hold on the plans. Last week, they said more than 300 positions needed to be filled due to the gap with COVID and a backlog with a hiring freeze in place over the past year.
Out of the 10,000 positions being filled over the next decade, United said a majority of the new hires will be women and minorities. As it stands now, “a little over 7% of United’s more than 12,000 pilots are women and 13% are people of color,” United said.
The flight school is meant to provide training to pilots with little-to-no experience for those interested in a career as an aviator. The first class of 20 pilots will begin in the third quarter with a graduation date sometime in the first half of 2022, United said.
United and other airlines have increased pilot recruitment in recent years. Students will average about five years in the classroom before starting a job with the airline.
The airline declined to say how much the flight academy would cost students but said it would grant $1.2 million in scholarships “to break down the financial barriers that limited access to the airline pilot career path for generations of women and people of color.” JPMorgan Chase said it would match United’s contribution to help increase diversity.