United Airlines celebrated the official grand opening of the United Aviate Academy at Goodyear Airport in Arizona. The event was located on the grounds of the campus located at Goodyear Airport in Phoenix. The $10 million facility is the former site of the Lufthansa Aviation Training Center and has everything needed for the United Aviate Program to be successful. The training fleet includes at least 20 Cirrus SR-20 aircraft with more to come. The program’s first class of trainees, the Alpha class, began training the first week of December 2021, and the Bravo class was on hand for the celebration. The Academy is positioned to enroll new students into the program each month and in upcoming years to support United Airlines’ direct effort to do their part in alleviating the aviation industry’s projected need for some 800,000 pilots over the next decade.
The following officials were on stage, beside the Academy’s students, for the ribbon-cutting ceremony –
- Brett Hart, President of United Airlines
- Dana Donati, Master of Ceremonies & CEO of United Aviate Academy
- Brad Mims, Federal Aviation Administration Deputy Administrator
- Joe Pizzillo, Mayor Goodyear, Arizona
- Kate Gallego Phoenix Mayor
- Rick Larson, Washington State Congressman /Chair of the House Sub-committee Representative
- Scott Kirby, United Airlines CEO and final speaker
- Kate Gallego spoke about the long tradition of aviation training at the state-of- the-art facility.
Brad Mims talked about his role with the FAA in addressing Diversity and Inclusion in the aviation community, its various initiatives, and the resources needed to train pilots. He also acknowledged JP Morgan Chase as a major benefactor
Scott Kirby was extremely excited and compared the experience to his time in the Air Force Academy at 17 years of age and said, “I think we have the highest number of women and people of color as pilots of any airline in the country, but that’s only 19%, and that’s not enough.”
Dana Donati remarked, “Two years from now I see us graduating over 500 students per year and honestly getting them on the pathway to a United Express carrier, and then eventually United Airlines.”