Atlanta pilot job fair to be followed by event for aspiring aviators

A two-pronged event to be held Friday in downtown is targeted at current and future pilots
Source: FlightSafety International

Source: FlightSafety International

As a 16-year-old student, Hayden Higley walked into a seminar aimed at “future pilots” and learned how he could pursue a career in aviation.

Higley had already started flying lessons, and at the seminar he learned more about the aviation industry and met with recruiters, gaining insights into what it would take to become an airline pilot.

Now, he’s a 21-year-old flight instructor in Jacksonville, Florida, still pursuing his aspiration of becoming an airline pilot.

As part of that mission, he’s planning to go to the Future & Active Pilot Advisors pilot job fair this Friday in Atlanta from 8 a.m. to noon at the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel downtown.

The job fair will be followed by a future pilot seminar like the one Higley attended as a teenager.

Higley said when he attended the event as a student five years ago, he came across “people from all different backgrounds” interested in pilot careers. Some had already started their flight training and others had no experience and were “just coming to this to learn about the aviation industry.”

This time, Higley will be heading to the job fair with nearly 1,000 flight hours under his belt — a threshold that with his bachelor’s degree in aviation will allow him to apply for a particular airline pilot certification to serve as a co-pilot.

Higley said he’s been applying to jobs at regional airlines “and getting into the interview mode.”

At the job fair on Friday morning, Air Wisconsin Airlines, Atlas Air, Republic Airways, SkyWest Airlines, Contour Aviation, Endeavor Air, Atlanta-based Volato, Wheels Up and other aviation firms will be recruiting, with some of the companies making presentations. More than 300 job seekers have signed up to attend.

Airlines went on hiring sprees in 2022 and 2023 to replenish their pilot staffing as travel rebounded from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, pilot hiring has slowed. Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and other carriers are hiring far less than they have over the last couple of years, when the airline industry collectively hired more than 12,000 pilots a year.

This year, numbers will be down but there will still be thousands of pilots hired, said Tim Genc, who works for Future & Active Pilot Advisors and will present at the event Friday.

“If we look at pilot hiring over the last 30 years, it’s up and it’s down and it’s up and it’s down. I would say it looks like the front of Charlie Brown’s shirt,” Genc said. “And that’s just kind of the way this industry is going to be.”

Genc said if someone becomes a pilot solely for the money, “You’re going to be disappointed” because of the volatility of the industry.

“If what you’re chasing is you love flying airplanes, you’re always going to be happy, regardless of whether you’re driving a BMW or a Honda Civic,” he said. For those people, “It’s a calling. It’s something that’s in their blood.”

After the Friday morning job fair, the future pilot seminar will start at 2 p.m. with a presentation on how to launch your pilot career and a presentation by 2FLY Airborne, a flight school in Merritt Island, Florida.

The target audience for the future pilot seminar is anyone interested in learning more about how to become a pilot, including high school students, adult career chargers and high school counselors, Genc said.

“Usually, the majority (attending) is high school students with the bank of mom and dad sitting right next to them,” Genc said. It can cost $100,000 for the training to become an airline pilot.

Those interested in the pilot job fair or the future pilot seminar should register online on advance at Both events are free for those attending.