Pilots wanted: No experience required

by L&D14 Mar 2016
Airline company JetBlue has announced a new program designed specifically for candidates with no aviation experience who “demonstrate the most desired qualities in a pilot”.
The Gateway Select initiative gives participants the opportunity to become pilots after completing a four-year training program that incorporates classroom learning, extensive real-world flying experience and instruction in full-flight simulators.

One of the goals of the program is for the profession to become more accessible to candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Indeed, JetBlue hopes the program will open up the profession by helping make the dream of becoming a pilot a reality to people who would not have had the opportunity.

“Many dream of becoming a pilot but are deterred by financial realities,” said Warren Christie, senior vice president of safety, security, and training, JetBlue.

“We have an opportunity to create the best pilot training program in the U.S. while also removing some of the economic and social barriers so that those with the natural aptitude can pursue their dream.”

JetBlue claims that the Gateway Select initiative takes the best from training programs used by the U.S. military and international airlines, and applies the same safety standards and federal requirements as current pilots.

“Much like the model U.S. military pilot training programs use, we have built a challenging curriculum that uses a consistent operating philosophy from the very first day of training,” Christie said.

“This is a major advancement in commercial pilot training. The traditional path will continue to produce excellent pilots, and now we will supplement the talent pool with pilots who are trained specifically for safe and efficient operations at JetBlue.”

In particular, JetBlue will work to recruit applicants from minority colleges and technical schools, and partner with organisations seeking to promote greater inclusion in the pilot community. This is based on the goal of bringing more diversity into the pilot profession.

“JetBlue has long been a supporter of Women in Aviation and its efforts to encourage women to pursue careers in aviation,” said Women in Aviation President Dr. Peggy Chabrian.

“JetBlue’s new Gateway Select program is an exciting new way to create meaningful pathways for students to pursue their dream of flying.

“We are particularly confident that the program will encourage more women to consider an aviation career.”

Gateway Select has also been designed to bring more predictability and a lower overall cost to aspiring pilots. This is due to the fact that the traditional model requires pilots to make a significant financial investment over a number of years without the guarantee of a job.