Frontier Airlines launches pilot training academy
No prior experience? No problem, for Frontier Airlines.
In search of a way to advance the problem of the global pilot shortage, Frontier will create its own pilot training academy and no time spent on the cockpit is necessary.
“We’re starting our own farm club,” said Frontier vice president of flight operations Brad Lambert. says 9 Denver Newsreferring to Major League Baseball’s term of having multiple minor league teams under the parent club for players to hone their skills before making it to the big leagues.
The facility will be known as the Aviation Cadet Program, an $8 million investment by the airline at a time when pilots are in short supply. The pilot shortage, which had been predicted for years, took on undesirable speed and significance when the pandemic hit. The combination of airlines offering early retirement, buyouts and some pilots reaching the mandatory retirement age of 65 has proven to be a perfect storm for the industry.
So Frontier, like other airlines, is taking matters into its own hands.
“We really want to provide an opportunity for aspiring riders,” Lambert said. “We also want to be able to control our destiny in the future.”
Frontier joins a host of airlines seeking to address domestic pilot shortages. Untied Airlines, for example, opened its own flight training academy earlier this year. Alaska Airlines partners with Hillsboro Aero Academy to open a flight school. Southwest also announced that it is resuming construction of its pilot training center.
Frontier will open applications to anyone interested in becoming a pilot and select 35 cadet candidates per month to pursue further training.
“We’re obviously going to pull those applications and rank them based on what we’re looking for and we’ll put applicants through a pretty aggressive vetting process, interviews, aptitude tests, things like that,” Lambert said.