Southwest Airlines is launching a new pilot recruitment programme, Southwest’s Destination 225°, partnering with 10 universities and flight schools in the USA to address an impending shortage of aviators.
The programme aims to train students specifically “The Southwest Way” and students will be provided with mentors who will potentially help them pass exams to enter first-officer training programmes with Southwest.
The named colleges include: the University of Oklahoma, Arizona State University and the University of Nebraska-Omaha, as well as flight programmes such as the US Aviation Academy in Denton and CAE in Los Angeles.
Southwest Airlines are just one of the carriers in the US facing a shortage of younger pilots to replace the soon-to-retire older generation.
Because schooling costs are deterring potential pilots, airlines have offered bonuses, scholarships and other incentives to help them make it through training.
Southwest’s Destination 225° programme will address pilot shortage
It is estimated that airlines and other carriers will need about 350,000 new pilots by 2026, according to the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organisation.
This problem is worsened in the US by the mandatory retirement age of 65.
In order to get a place on Southwest’s Destination 225° programme, participants need to apply and following acceptance will be invited to attend events and training activities, including assistance with the company’s application process once they finish school.
While the programme doesn’t cost money, students are still required to pay for their flight school programmes and the costs required to hit the requirement for flight hours by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Standards have become tougher since 2013 when the FAA increased the number of flight hours required from 250 to 1,500 to get the certificate to become a passenger airline of cargo pilot.
The requirements are lower for those with military flight training or those who have a bachelor’s degree from a flight-training programme.
Southwest’s vice president of flight operations Alan Kasher said: “This comprehensive training programme is designed to make becoming a Southwest First Officer an attainable goal for passionate, highly-skilled individuals.”
Photo: Samantha Gades
Kate Frazer is a reporter for Global Education Times with a focus on UK/Ireland and North American education news. When she is not writing for GET News, Kate spends her time as an English and Maths tutor, and is currently pursuing her PGCE in Secondary Mathematics.
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