United Airlines intends to start ground on an expansion of its training center in Denver on Wednesday, an initiative aimed at preparing thousands of pilots to carry customers as the airline ramps up its recruiting.
The project is expected to cost around $100 million. United will be able to add six new flight simulators to its training center thanks to a new four-story structure. Later forward, the airline intends to install six more simulators. There are currently 40 simulators available.
Following a large order last year, the new simulators will be used to teach pilots on the Boeing 737 Max and Airbus jetliners, as well as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, according to Marc Champion, managing director of the flight training facility.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of next year, according to the carrier. The training center enlargement project, according to Champion, has been in the works for almost a year.
As the airline industry recovers from the Covid pandemic, United, like other carriers, is seeing fierce competition for pilots. Between now and the end of the decade, the airline plans to hire 10,000 pilots, according to Champion. This year, the Chicago-based airline intends to hire around 2,000 new pilots.
United Aviate Academy, a new flying school in Goodyear, Arizona, opened its doors to its first students last year. By 2030, it hopes to have trained 5,000 pilots there.
During the pandemic, many aviators shifted to new aircraft or waited for slots to finish federally mandated recurrent training, resulting in enormous training backlogs across airlines.
Last year, American Airlines, for example, elected to preserve a pilot route.