Career News

United Airlines buys flight school Westwind

PHOENIX - United Airlines expects to hire more than 10,000 pilots throughout the 2020s. The U.S. industry behemoth ventures into flight training to hedge its cockpit staffing needs.

Demographics were in key driver behind United`s decision to buy Phoenix-based Westwind School of Aeronautics as half of its pilots will turn or apporach 65 by 2029 - the mandatory retirement age for pilots flying in the United States.

Westwind - rebranding as "United Aviate Academy" is expected to churn out more than 300 young pilots into United`s fleets in its first year of operation under the new owner.

United Airlines Boeing 737-900ER

"The United Aviate Academy will give the airline more visibility and direction over the recruitment, development and training of future pilots, enabling United to increase the percentage of women and minorities who become pilots," United said in a statement. The airline will facilitate financing for its academy`s students. (2020/02/06, Image: Boeing)

JetBlue Airways looking for pilot talent

NEW YORK - JetBlue Airways is closing in on 2019 admissions to its flight training program "Gateway Select" - the fast track to a cockpit job with the airline.


JetBlue Airways became the first major American airline to venture into ab initio pilot training in 2017 with its "Gateway Select" courses. After completing initial flight training and an "airline preparation course", students will work at CAE flight training as instructors to collect 1,500 flight hours - an FAA requirement for all airline pilots - before joining JetBlue Airways as First Officers.

"Gateway Select" tuition is 110,000 US Dollars. Yet, JetBlue Airways provides financing through Wells Fargo and US Credit.

The 2019 application window closes September 20th.
Admission to the program is subject to a successful participation in an online and on-site assessment process. The 3,5 year "Gateway Select" program is open to applicants who are eligable to work in the US and will be at least 23 years of age upon completion. (2019/09/10, Image: JetBlue)

Meet SkyTest and SkyJobs at Be a pilot Screening Day 2019

Be-a-pilotAir traffic growth stimulates pilot demand among airlines. While airline-mentored ab initio programs return to the flight training market, independent flight schools offer alternative and attractive paths into the industry.

SkyTest will co-host Be a pilot Screening Day 2019 in Frankfurt/M, Germany - a one-day venue with an FTO exhibition site and expert presentations on the current flight training landscape.

Date: Oct. 12th 2019, 10.00 - 17.00
Place: The Squaire, Frankfurt Airport, Germany
Website: (German)

Ryanair taps flight training market to attract new pilots

LODZ - Ryanair ventures into ab initio pilot training. Polish FTO Bartolini Air will train up to 300 cadets on behalf of Ryanair over the course of the next four years.


Ryanair adds ab initio flight training to its pilot training and supply strategy. Bartolini Air won a Ryanair mandate to train cadets at its Lodz facilities for the airline. According to a Ryanair statement the "Air Mentored Pilot Training" programme will process 300 future pilots through 18 months of "intensive" flight training, a Boeing 737 type-rating and Ryanair cockpit job.



"Being recognized by Europe’s leading airline is a milestone for Bartolini Air. It undoubtedly proves the quality of our training and the high level of skills of our cadets," said Bartolini Air CEO Izabela Konopinska. The FTO will start accepting applications in the next few weeks.


Like all European airlines Ryanair faces a hiring bottleneck caused by an industry-wide pilot shortage. Ryanair expects to hire up to 1,000 new pilots every year until 2024 to support fleet and network growth plans. (2019/07/22, Image: Ryanair)



Turkish Airlines to accept cadets up to 30

ISTANBUL - Turkish Airlines still has some spots to fill in its 2019 ab initio flight training programme. While some restrictions apply, the airline will accept applications from potential cadets up to the age of 30 years.

Turkish Airlines is looking for future First Officers. The airline invites Turkish citizen or blue card holders with certain qualifications to apply for flight school enrollment by August 30th 2019. Admission is subject to a successful participation in an evaluation process that includes an English test, health check, CRM test, job interview and an DLR pilot aptitude screening.

We recommend SkyTest® Preparation Software for DLR 1 Screening to prepare for the aptitude tests - discounts are available on request. (2019/06/19, Image: Turkish Airlines)

Turkish Airlines

WDL Aviation and LGW consolidate pilot recruitment

HAMBURG - German wet-lease operators WDL Aviation and LGW consolidate their pilot recruitment and screening process with Interpersonal.


Zeitfracht completed the acquisition of LGW from Lufthansa Group (Eurowings) in April 2019. Along with WDL Aviation the Berlin-based logistics company now operates two airlines with a mixed wet-lease fleet of Embraer E190, BAe 146 and Bombardier DHC8 aircraft.




Current Zeitfracht pilot vacancies include Captain and First Officer assignments within the Embraer and BAe fleets at the Cologne base of WDL Aviation and First Officer assignments within the LGW Dash 8 fleets based in Dusseldorf and Stuttgart. Pre-hiring screenings for both Zeitfracht airlines are arranged by Interpersonal in Hamburg.


We recommend SkyTest® Preparation Software for IP-BQ (Basic Qualification) to prep for the aptitude tests of the multi-stage screening process. (2019/05/02, Image: Eurowings)



AirAsia still looking for 2019 student pilots

KUALA LUMPUR - AirAsia easily makes it into the list of the most successful airline ventures in Asia. The airline still accepts applications for its 2019 ab initio pilot training scheme.


"You can have all the money you want in the world, and you can have all the brilliant ideas - but if you do not have the people, forget it," says AirAsia founder Tony Fernandes. To support continued fleet and schedule growth at Asia`s largest low-cost airline, AirAsia trains student pilots in its own MPL programme to fly Airbus A320s later on.

The 2019 course still has some spots left to fill. Applicants need to have Malaysian citizenship, be between 18 and 28 years of age and must fit certain health requirements. More information about joining AirAsia and the screening process is available here. (2019/03/20)


Airbus to provide ab initio training in Europe

TOULOUSE - Airbus develops its Cassidian Aviation Training Services arm into a flight school. A new ab initio programme will accomodate up to 200 flight students per year in Airbus-centric courses.

"In order to meet the high market demand for cadet pilot training in Europe - 94,000 new pilots over the next 20 years . Airbus has decided to open its own flight academy and extend its training services offering by adding ab-initio to its portfolio," the manufactures said in a statement.

Leveraging cross-divisional synergies, the "Airbus Flight Academy Europe", based in Angoulême, France, will use Airbus standardised instructors to deliver the ab-initio Pilot Cadet Training programme approved by EASA at the end of 2018, complementing the intermediate and advanced training phases that are already available and provided in the existing training network on 17 sites worldwide.


The Airbus Flight Academy Europe aims to train up-to 200 pilot cadets annually. Using a modern fleet of both single and multi-engine aircraft equipped with full digital cockpit technology as well as the latest flight simulators, the training programme will equip students with the skills and mind-set required to become “operationally-ready pilots" focusing on the all-important development of key pilot technical and behavioral competencies.

The Airbus Pilot Cadet Training Programme is open to high school graduates over 18 years old worldwide. Candidates will undergo online and on-site screening tests before being eligible for training which will include 750 hours of ground school, plus 200 hours of flight training. (2019/02/28)

Lufthansa to expand EFA beyond 500 students

GOODYEAR - Lufthansa will admit 500 flight students into its 2019 ab initio courses. The airline hopes to attract more female cadets.

European Flight Academy (EFA) - the flight training arm of Lufthansa Group - enrolled 450 new students in 2018. "We are looking to surpass last year`s record with 500 flight students in 2019," an EFA spokesperson said. Along with a growing pilot demand at all Lufthansa group airlines EFA may even "go beyond this number in the years to come".

One in seven EFA students is female. While EFA calls its 15 percent female cadet demographic "high" among industry peers it admits more need to be done "to increase this number and attract more girls and women to persue the pilot profession".

Lufthansa operates six pilot training centers in Germany, Switzerland and the US. Several of the 150 EFA instructors are active Lufthansa pilots. (2019/02/26)




Singapore Airlines starts 2019 ab initio recruitment

SINGAPORE - Singapore Airlines accepts flight student applications. The ab initio training scheme is the fast lane into a cockpit of Singapore Airlines or Silkair.

As airlines in Asia-Pacific face a pilot shortage, Singapore Airlines boosts its ab initio training. The 2019 application process comprises a preliminary interview, aptitude tests, a final interview and a medical check-up. Flight students admitted to Singapore Flying College will undergo flight training in Singapore and oversea facilities and graduate with either an ATPL or MPL.

Unlike other airlines, Singapore Airlines pays its flight students a monthly allowance to cover living expenses. Graduates will start their careers as First Officers with Singapore Airlines or Silkair. (2019/01/21, Image: Singapore Airlines)


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