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United Celebrates Historic First Graduating Class of Flight Academy Pilots

United Celebrates Historic First Graduating Class of Flight Academy Pilots

United, the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, is celebrating the graduation of United Aviate Academy’s inaugural class of pilots, an important step towards training the next generation of talented, qualified, and motivated aviators. The inaugural graduating class includes 51 students – with nearly 80% being women or people of color – marking the next step towards the airline’s goal to train about 5,000 new pilots at the school by 2030, with the added goal of at least half women or people of color.

The recruitment and hiring of pilots is a priority at United and the academy is an example of the long-term investments in infrastructure, training, and aircraft the airline has made in the past few years. Just last month, United purchased more widebodies than any U.S. airline in history and announced it’s now the largest carrier across both the Pacific and Atlantic. To support that growth, United hired about 2,400 pilots in 2022 and plans to hire another 2,500 this year. United intends to add at least 10,000 pilots by the end of this decade.

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United Aviate Academy graduates can continue to build flight time and leadership experience while continuing within the United Aviate pilot career development program’s ecosystem. Some graduates will work as Certified Flight Instructors at the academy to continue accruing the 1,500 required flying hours – a common industry practice for aspiring pilots – while others will build experience at participating flight schools or universities, including Embry-Riddle Aeronautical UniversityPurdue University and Hampton University.

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United currently has more than 14,000 pilots, and Captains of United’s Boeing 787s and 777s can earn more than $350,000 per year plus a rich package of benefits. In addition, United pilots receive one of the highest 401(k) matches in the nation – 16% of base pay.

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 5.6% of pilots are women and 6% are people of color. And training to achieve a commercial pilot’s license in the U.S. can cost at least $100,000, with supplementary costs adding to the financial burden.

To help address financial barriers to entry, United and JPMorgan Chase & Co. established a scholarship fund in 2020 and are working with leading industry partners to award more than $5 million in scholarships for prospective academy students. In addition, Boeing has committed funding to expand the program this year. United also directly works with the following organizations to educate prospects about the benefits of becoming a pilot and to find candidates for scholarship opportunities:

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  • Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals
  • Sisters of the Skies
  • Women in Aviation International
  • National Gay Pilots Association
  • The Latino Pilots Association
  • The Professional Asian Pilots Association
  • Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)

As a result of these efforts, United Aviate Academy has received more than 22,000 applications, with nearly 70% of applicants being women or people of color.

United Aviate Academy currently has more than 240 students, with nearly 75% women or people of color. In the flight school’s first year of operations, collectively, the students have flown more than 2 million miles, achieved more than 250 aviation certificates, and completed more than 68,000 takeoffs and landings. The aspiring pilots also organized 174 “Pool Dunks” in the campus swimming pool, a new tradition that commemorates each time a student completes a solo flight for the first time.

The 340,000 square-foot facility at Phoenix Goodyear Airport includes world-class features such as:

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  • Forty late-model Cirrus SR-20 series single-engine aircraft, which feature advanced safety characteristics
  • Seven FRASCA flight simulators
  • Nearly 50,000 square feet of office space
  • Multiple aircraft hangars
  • Dormitory rooms for student housing with ample room for expansion
  • Proximity to many auxiliary airfields in the Phoenix area
  • Favorable weather for year-round flight training

United Next

Graduates of United Aviate Academy have a lot to look forward to. In December, United ordered more widebody aircraft than any U.S. carrier in commercial aviation history: 100 Boeing 787 Dreamliners with options to purchase 100 more. Combined with already announced orders, the airline expects to take delivery of about 700 new aircraft by 2032, including an average of more than two every week in 2023 and three a week in 2024.

This historic purchase is the next chapter in the carrier’s ambitious United Next plan and builds on United’s strengths: the leading U.S. international gateways, a robust domestic network supporting the global fleet, a premium onboard experience and the most widebody aircraft among North American carriers.

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Air France unveils the new cabin interiors on its Embraer 190 fleet

Air France unveils the new cabin interiors on its Embraer 190 fleet

At the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, on May 28, 2024, Air France made an exclusive debut of the revamped cabins set to grace all Embraer 190s operated by its regional subsidiary.

Commencing in autumn 2024, the first of these elegantly refurbished aircraft will take flight, marking a significant step in the airline’s commitment to elevating its short and medium-haul travel experience.

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With a focus on standardizing products and services, Air France has meticulously redesigned the Embraer 190 cabins to ensure passenger comfort, sustainability, and aesthetic appeal. The aircraft will boast 110 new seats arranged in a 2-2 configuration, each meticulously crafted with leather upholstery and ergonomic foam padding.

These seats offer enhanced comfort with a generous 46 cm seat pan, a recline of up to three inches, and features such as tray tables, optimized storage space, removable armrests, and coat hooks. Moreover, adjustable headrests and retractable holders with ribbed, non-slip surfaces for smartphones or tablets add a touch of convenience.

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For discerning Business customers, an exclusive cabin at the front of the aircraft will provide enhanced privacy and comfort. A mobile curtain separates this section from the rest of the cabin, and from January 2025, each Business customer will enjoy the luxury of an empty seat beside them.

Mirroring the Air France signature colors seen in Airbus A220 cabins, the Embraer 190 interiors will showcase shades of blue, accentuated by white for light and contrast, and touches of red symbolizing the airline’s excellence and expertise. The seat design, featuring symmetrical stitching and grey embroidery thread, ensures optimum comfort and style. Carbon fiber and titanium construction make the seats ultra-light yet robust, incorporating recycled components and minimal plastic.

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ATR Unveils Advanced Design of New All-Business Interior

ATR Unveils Advanced Design of New All-Business Interior

In a significant development at the Aircraft Interiors Expo 2024, ATR has unveiled its cutting-edge All-Business Class configuration, a part of its ATR HighLine collection announced last year.

This innovative interior design, featuring a unique 1-1 layout, aims to redefine luxury in regional air travel. The All-Business Class interior, named ‘ETEREA’, is distinguished by its spacious individual business seats, each offering direct window views and aisle access.

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Designed by Geven, these tailor-made seats boast exceptional personal space and privacy, thanks to the ATR’s wider cross-section, which surpasses the comfort levels of narrower regional jets currently in operation.

The ETEREA seats, measuring a generous 21.6 inches in width, provide ample legroom and recline capabilities. Each seat is equipped with a personal side console that functions as both a table and a storage compartment. This thoughtful design maximizes convenience and comfort, catering to the needs of discerning business travelers.

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ATR’s All-Business Class interior offers several customization options, including an executive ceiling achieved by removing overhead bins, USB A+C charging ports, in-flight entertainment, high-speed internet access, and premium material finishes. These features collectively create an unparalleled in-flight experience, making regional travel more luxurious and efficient.

Berjaya Air, a Malaysia-based airline, will be the launch customer for the ATR 72-600 HighLine All-Business Class. Starting in 2025, Berjaya Air will deploy two customized aircraft to serve its luxury hotels and resorts. The modification of Berjaya Air’s aircraft will be executed through a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC), ensuring the highest standards of safety and performance.

In addition to luxury and comfort, ATR HighLine-equipped aircraft are designed with sustainability in mind. Emitting 45% less CO2 than similar-sized jets, these aircraft are set to revolutionize the regional travel industry by promoting eco-friendly travel solutions and accelerating the decarbonization of regional air mobility.

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ATR’s new All-Business Class interior represents a significant leap forward in regional aviation, combining luxury, convenience, and sustainability. With the introduction of the ETEREA seats and the support of launch customer Berjaya Air, ATR is poised to set new standards in the aviation industry, offering an enhanced travel experience for business travelers worldwide.

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Comac Eyes Saudi Arabian Market to Challenge Western Aircraft Giants

Comac Eyes Saudi Arabian Market to Challenge Western Aircraft Giants

Chinese state-owned aircraft manufacturer Comac is setting its sights on Saudi Arabia as a strategic launch pad for its international ambitions.

The company is stepping up efforts to sell its aircraft overseas and penetrate a passenger jet market that has long been dominated by Western manufacturers, such as Airbus and Boeing. Comac’s Chairman Dongfeng He made his inaugural visit to Saudi Arabia this week, a significant follow-up to a visit by a Saudi delegation to Comac’s facilities in Shanghai in February.

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This reciprocal visit highlights the growing interest and potential partnership between Comac and Saudi Arabia. The centerpiece of Comac’s international strategy is the Comac C919, a narrowbody aircraft designed to compete directly with Airbus’ A320neo and Boeing’s 737 Max.

While the C919 has primarily received orders from China and Southeast Asia, Comac is now looking to expand its market reach into the Middle East. Speaking at an aviation conference in Riyadh, He expressed Comac’s vision of enhancing global connectivity and diversity by contributing to the development of Saudi Arabia’s aviation transportation.

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He detailed plans for improving connectivity within a 2,000-kilometer radius of Saudi Arabia, encompassing the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East, Turkey, and North Africa. In addition to the C919, Comac has ambitions to launch a long-haul wide-body aircraft, the C929, which could support Saudi Arabia’s aspirations to become an international aviation hub. However, the C929 program has encountered delays and the aircraft has yet to make its maiden flight.

By focusing on Saudi Arabia, Comac aims to establish a foothold in a region that could serve as a gateway for further international expansion, positioning itself as a formidable competitor to Western aircraft manufacturers once it addresses remaining safety and technological concerns.

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