United Expands World’s Largest Flight Training Center to Prepare for Pilot Hiring Surge

Jun 1, 2022 | Corporate Member News

New, four-story building on 23-acre campus will house more flight simulators, classrooms, and offices as airline seeks to hire 10,000 new pilots by 2030

United pilots cycle through the Denver facility every nine months to stay certified for one of the best careers in the world

United Captains can earn more than $350,000 annually – the airline has one of the largest global networks in the world and flies more widebody aircraft than any other North American carrier

United Airlines today announced it is expanding its Flight Training Center, already the largest facility of its kind in the world, as the airline seeks to hire an additional 10,000 pilots by 2030. The airline will add a new four-story building on the 23-acre campus in Denver’s Central Park neighborhood that will house 12 additional advanced flight simulators, training classrooms, conference rooms, and offices.

Marc Champion, Managing Director of the Flight Training Center, was joined today by Toby Enqvist, United’s Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer, Matt Miller, United’s Vice President of Airport Operations in Denver, Denver’s Mayor Michael Hancock, and Phillip Washington, CEO of Denver International Airport, at a groundbreaking event to kick-off the expansion project that is expected to be completed before the end of 2023.

United has embarked on an aggressive plan to recruit and train thousands of pilots in the next decade and remains an attractive option for aviators because the airline has one of the largest global networks in the world and flies more widebody aircraft than any other North American carrier.

“The expansion of this world-class facility gives United even more resources to recruit and train the next generation of aviators,” said Marc Champion, Managing Director of the Flight Training Center. “Our pilots are the best in the industry and flying remains one of the best, union careers in the world – great pay and benefits and the chance to captain the biggest planes to the most places around the world.”

United’s campus – seven buildings, across 550,000 square feet of training space – is the sole training facility for the airline’s 12,000 active pilots and all newly hired pilots. Every nine months pilots must visit the training center to remain up-to-date on certifications. At any one time, there may be up to 600 pilots training at the facility.

United’s Flight Training Center campus currently has 39 full-motion flight simulators and 15 fixed training devices – the additional building means United will soon have the capability to have a total of 52 full-motion simulators and 28 fixed training devices.

United expects to add more than 2,000 new pilots this year alone and is on track to hire 10,000 pilots by 2030. The airline plans to train around 5,000 pilots by that date through United Aviate Academy, the airline’s own pilot training school. United’s goal is to have at least half of the pilots trained at the United Aviate Academy to be women or people of color.  

United and its pilots’ labor union (Air Line Pilots Association) recently reached an agreement on new contract terms, a first among the major U.S. carriers.

“United Airlines was the only airline to work with our pilots union to reach an agreement during COVID,” CEO Scott Kirby said in a LinkedIn post. “It’s not surprising that we are now the first airline to get an Agreement in Principle for an industry-leading new pilot contract.”

Companywide, the airline has embarked upon a historic hiring effort, planning to hire 50,000 people in the next five years. Close to 90 percent of United’s domestic workforce is unionized, and all employees of the airline, even part-time employees, earn more than the federal minimum wage and are eligible to receive company-sponsored medical coverage, participate in company-funded retirement programs, receive paid vacation and flight benefits to travel the world.

More than 1,000 of United’s 7,000+ Denver-based employees work at United’s Flight Training Center in roles including instructing, evaluating, scheduling, human resources, and flight standards.

The facility demonstrates United’s longstanding commitment to the Mile High City. It was originally constructed between 1966-68 as part of the Stapleton Airport complex and has served as United’s main pilot training facility since then. Within the last five years, United has renovated the entire facility and added an additional building as recently as 2020.

This May, United celebrated 85 years of continued service in Denver. Today, the carrier is the largest airline in the Denver area, connects Coloradans to more places in the world, operates the most flights, and carries the most passengers in the state of any airline. United has invested $825 million to add new gates at Denver International Airport, with several gates already open. The expansion will soon bring United’s total gate count at the airport to 90.

About United: United’s shared purpose is “Connecting People. Uniting the World.” From our U.S. hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., United operates the most comprehensive global route network among North American carriers. United is bringing back our customers’ favorite destinations and adding new ones on its way to becoming the world’s best airline. For more about how to join the United team, please visit www.united.com/careers, and more information about the company is at www.united.com. United Airlines Holdings, Inc., the parent company of United Airlines, Inc., is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol “UAL”.

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