United Airlines, the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, will begin accepting applications Tuesday as it embarks on an ambitious plan to train 5,000 new pilots by 2030 — with a goal of at least half of them women and people of color.
Backed by scholarship commitments from United Airlines and JPMorgan Chase, United Aviate Academy will create opportunities for thousands of students, including women and people of color, to pursue a career as a commercial airline pilot, one of the most lucrative careers in the industry.
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.
In addition, for those United Aviate Academy students who may need additional financing, United has partnered with Sallie Mae to offer private student loans to ensure no highly qualified, highly motivated, eligible applicants will be turned away solely because they can’t afford to enroll. United Aviate Academy expects to enroll 100 students in 2021.
“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,” United CEO Scott Kirby said. “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.”
United will leverage its longstanding relationships with a variety of organizations, including the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, Sisters of the Skies, the Latino Pilots Association and the Professional Asian Pilots Association, to help identify and steer highly qualified, diverse candidates to the United Aviate Academy. As key partners, these organizations will select the applicants to receive the scholarships and grants funded by United and JPMorgan Chase.