Special Panel

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Pathways to Meet Safety and Hiring Needs

United Airlines continues to evolve in its approach to the needs of pilot selection, training, and mentorship as it adapts to the competitive industry landscape and adjusts to meet demand for pilot supply. United Airlines is currently hiring pilots to supplement fleet growth and an increasing rate of retirements as they look for ways to engage, mentor, and identify future pilots early in their career and start them on the path to choosing United. The mentorship of current and future pilots is paramount to bridging the gap in experience and knowledge as the generational retirement waves ripple through the industry and the pace of technology continues to accelerate. Airlines may need to consider being more adaptive as the new hire pilot demographics become much more variable than in past hiring cycles. New training technologies continue to emerge and provide opportunities to effectively customize training to each individual candidate to enhance strengths and address weaknesses as part of the comprehensive training programs we have. 

Carriers are competing for future candidates, and the good new is college enrollments for the pilot profession are rapidly rising. However, the industry will need to work together to meet the projected need for more than 600,000 pilots worldwide as predicted by Boeing and others. 

United and ALPA are both stakeholders in the process of developing methods for mentoring our pilots and have shared interest in evaluating the best methods of identifying, preparing, and training the future pilot group. ALPA is also working to educate future pilots and promote the career. Furthermore, mentorship programs are essential to developing these new pilots into the future professional Captains that will mentor the following generation. A shared and unwavering commitment to safety is what must guide each decision.