Delta Air Lines, through its Propel Pilot Career Path Program, is launching a new pilot academy that will train the carrier’s next generation of aviators and address the pilot shortage in the country. On Tuesday, Delta and Skyborne Airline Academy announced they are opening their doors to their first class of students in June and are accepting applications from interested candidates.
The next generation of aviators
Delta Air Lines, in partnership with Skyborne Airline Academy, is launching the Delta Propel Flight Academy, which is the fourth pathway type created for aspiring pilots by the company’s Propel Pilot Career Path Program since its inception in 2018. To date, nearly 100 participants have completed Propel’s existing company, college, and community pathway programs. They are now flying with Delta, and another 700 pilots are currently enrolled in the program and working to obtain their wings and fly for the US carrier, according to a statement sent today.
Patrick Burns, Delta’s vice president of Flight Operations and System Chief Pilot, said,
“The Propel Flight Academy is the latest chapter in our longstanding commitment to invest in and create new, equitable pathways for qualified talent to enter the pilot profession. We look forward to watching a new generation of pilots begin their journey at the Propel Flight Academy and eventually join us in the flight deck to help show Delta customers why no one better connects the world.”
Key features and costs
According to its website, Delta’s Propel Flight Academy includes some attractive benefits, including funding packages, fully-mentored training, and career development with the airline. The academy will be based in a 12,000-square-foot facility situated within Skyborne’s campus in Vero Beach, Florida.
The course price is $83,955 as of March 2023, plus accommodation ($7,800) and required extras ($309), such as a GATS fuel tester, a ForeFlight subscription, VFR charts, kneeboard, and foggles (flying goggles).
Student pilots are eligible to receive up to $20,000 from Delta in financial support. The airline will also cover the cost of interest on student loans from select lenders.
When the students have successfully completed their certified flight instructor training, they can be offered employment with Skyborne as certified flight instructors. In that role, they will receive full sponsorship for Certified Flight Instructor Instrument and Multi-Engine Instructor Rating, a salary, and private health benefits until they reach 1,500 hours. After that, they will enter one of Delta’s Connection carriers as a first officer.
Addressing the pilot shortage gap
Airlines believe there is a pilot shortage in the United States (although pilot unions argue that this narrative is being hyped to water down qualification standards). To address this issue, carriers across the country are moving their training programs in-house. By doing so, they can nurture the talent that will work with them for years to come.
The pilot shortage is most severe at small carriers. These airlines often don’t pay as well as larger companies and only serve as stepping stones to them. Delta is helping its Connection carriers (Endeavor Air, Republic Airways, and SkyWest Airlines) through its Propel Pilot Program since the new pilots begin their jobs on these regional carriers.
This article originally appeared on Simple Flying