The airline will also allow its own employees who have private pilot licenses to apply for a leave of absence and work toward becoming a pilot for Delta. The leave would allow time to complete additional flight training, and to work as a flight instructor or as a pilot at a Delta Connection carrier for up to 3½ years before being hired as a Delta pilot.
For years in the airline industry, concerns have bubbled up about the prospect of a pilot shortage. Industry and community groups have worked on ways to encourage young people to consider careers as pilots.
But the challenges to becoming a commercial airline pilot as significant. The barriers include the cost and time required to go through pilot training and build up enough hours and experience flying to get a job at a major carrier, along with the financial turmoil and job cuts in the airline industry over the years.
“We listened to feedback from students, parents, faculty administrators and Delta employees to help overcome barriers for potential pilot candidates such as career path uncertainty and the Certified Flight Instructor shortage,” said Delta senior vice president of flight operations Steve Dickson in a written statement.
Delta said it is also exploring financing opportunities for employees and students, and will continue partnerships with aviation groups like the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, Aviation Career Enrichment, Conyers Middle School’s Center for Technology and Engineering, the National Gay Pilots Association, Women in Aviation International and other groups.