UND, United Airlines team up for pilot program

UND, United Airlines team up for pilot program Click to Enlarge

A new partnership will soon put qualified UND commercial aviation students on track to becoming pilots for United Airlines.

UND’s Career Pathway Program and United have outlined steps for students to transition to the cockpit, as long as they meet eligibility requirements.

Aviation department chair Jim Higgins says it will fill a need, as major airlines will be hiring 24,000 pilots in the next 10 years.

"Today, there's only about 16,000 regional pilots that exist," Higgins said. "So doing the math, you can see that there's going to be a pretty good shortage unless some fundamentals change.

"So what United is saying is, ahead of that, we're going to come in and set up a program where we can get a good supply of pilots that are safe and effective at doing their job and bring them into United."

United has a similar program with one other school in the nation, Metropolitan State University of Denver..

Paul Lindseth, dean of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, says United is selective in choosing partners.

"We continue on a daily basis to make sure that we're providing the best education possible," Lindseth said. "It's an honor for United Airlines to recognize that by selecting us for this program."

The program, introduced at a Monday news conference at Robin Hall, is scheduled to begin this fall.

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