United Airlines buys flight school to increase training, hiring efforts

United hopes to hire more than 10,000 pilots by 2029

United Airlines is buying a flight training academy and hopes to hire more than 10,000 pilots by 2029.

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On Wednesday, United announced it agreed to purchase the Westwind School of Aeronautics in Phoenix, Arizona, which will be renamed United Aviate Academy, according to a press release.

The school will be a way for the airline to have more control over the training and recruiting process and will help the company “increase the percentage of women and minorities who become pilots,” the release said.

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United said it expects to have 300 academy graduates in its first year.

The airline said it is also developing “attractive financing terms” for the academy as well as a scholarship program for women and minorities.

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According to the release, the academy will be a part of United’s development and recruitment program for pilots called Aviate, which the airline launched last year.

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“Launching our own academy provides us with the unique opportunity to not only ensure we maintain the ideal number of quality candidates within our pilot pipeline, but also play a significant role in recruiting, developing and welcoming those with diverse backgrounds to the United family,” Aviate Managing Director Captain Bebe O'Neil said in a statement.

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Though other U.S.-based airlines have agreements with flight schools for students to transition from academy to airline, United is the first airline in the country to have its own academy, according to The Points Guy.

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