Delta Air Lines Inc would launch a flight academy to train pilots for the airline as the industry struggles with a shortage of aviators.
The Delta Propel Pilot Academy will be based in a 12,000-square-foot facility situated within Skyborne’s Florida campus, the statement said.
Atlanta-based Delta joins United Airlines Holdings Inc (UAL.O), which agreed to purchase a flight training academy in Phoenix in 2020, in an effort to bolster its roster of pilots.
The carrier said the academy, operated in partnership with training provider Skyborne Airline, would start training its first batch of students in June.
The development comes at a time when major U.S. carriers, faced with a travel boom, have struggled to find enough pilots after many of them were let go during the pandemic.
There has been a shortage of pilots in the United States for several years. The shortage is primarily due to several factors, including:
Retirement: Many experienced pilots are reaching retirement age and leaving the industry.
Cost of training: Becoming a pilot is expensive, and many aspiring pilots are deterred by the high cost of flight training.
Reduced military pilot pipeline: In the past, the military has been a significant source of trained pilots for commercial airlines. However, the number of military pilots has decreased in recent years, reducing the pipeline of potential commercial pilots.
COVID-19 pandemic: The pandemic has caused a decrease in air travel, leading to furloughs and layoffs in the airline industry. This has made the prospect of becoming a pilot less attractive to some.
Regulatory changes: Changes to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations regarding pilot training and certification have made it more difficult and time-consuming to become a pilot, which may deter some prospective pilots.
Global competition: Other countries, particularly in Asia and the Middle East, are experiencing rapid growth in their aviation industries and are attracting pilots away from the United States with more attractive pay and benefits packages.
These factors have led to concerns that the United States may not have enough pilots to meet the growing demand for air travel in the coming years. However, there are also efforts underway to address this issue, including increased investment in pilot training programs and initiatives to promote aviation careers to young people.
The shortage of pilots has led to airlines offering signing bonuses, increasing pay, and providing other incentives to attract new pilots.