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First Class of United GA Pilots Graduates from Arizona Facility

Fresh CFI in Hand, Inaugural Class of Aviate Pilots Heads to Instruct

United announced the graduation of its first group of zero-to-hero ab initio pilots from their United Aviate Academy.

The class is the first to come from the Goodyear, Arizona location after United took over the luxurious training accommodations that served as Lufthansa's old stomping grounds, including their bespoke, private use ILS in the south practice area. The graduating class of 51 students will be the first bolus towards what United hopes will be an eventual - but optimistic - total of 5,000 by decade's end. Growth at United has continued unabated, with expansions to its training facilities for cabin crew and fleet buys on a scale never before seen. Its plans saw the hiring of 2,400 pilots in 2022, with another 2,500 on deck for hire throughout 2023. United hopes to have at least 10,000 pilots by the end of the decade, progressing beyond its current status as the largest carrier across "both the Pacific and Atlantic."

United CEO Scott Kirby and United COO Toby Enqvist spoke to the first class of graduates at a ceremony at the Phoenix Goodyear Airport, boosting their spirits as they stare down the timeline of 1,500 hours worth of instructing at the school. Not all will remain at the Aviate location, with some newly minted CFIs making their way to partnered entities like Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Purdue University and Hampton University. Eventually, the candidates will make their way to Part 135 operators under the airline's greater umbrella, with a timeline expected around 6 years in total.

"United is leading the industry in the training, recruitment and hiring of the next generation of talented commercial pilots and the progress we've made at United Aviate Academy after just one year is another example of an airline where good leads the way," said Kirby. "I'm so proud of this first class of graduates – they've taken an important first step in their career and they reflect our commitment to hiring people who exceed the highest professional and safety standards. I look forward to eventually welcoming them to our United team and I can't wait to see them flying our new United Next planes in the years to come."

FMI: www.united.com

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