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"More civilian pilots hired"



Friday, February 2, 2001

More civilian pilots hired
By John Schmeltzer
The Chicago (IL) Tribune


Aviation Information Resources, an Atlanta firm that helps place pilots with
the nation's airlines, says the nation's airlines are increasingly turning
to the civilian market for their hires.

Last year, 60 percent of the 19,027 pilots hired were civilians, continuing
a trend that emerged two years ago. Before that, airlines hired the bulk of
their pilots from the military.

That's may be why Delta Air Lines has signed an agreement with Western
Michigan University under which the airline will invest $1.65 million over
four years in the university's College of Aviation and its ab initio
training program. Unlike traditional aviation programs, Western Michigan
takes students who have never flown a plane and trains them to become
pilots.

Two years ago, the university signed a contract to train pilots for British
Airways and Ireland's Aer Lingus. The training program is similar to one by
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., which trains
pilots for Saudi Arabian Airlines.

Under the agreement with Delta, the university is committed to train a
minimum of 24 women and minority pilots who will be given priority
employment consideration by Delta's two commuter airlines.

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