Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings Inc. is launching a training academy it says will address a "critical pilot shortage" and ultimately create more than 600 jobs. The airline says the LIFT Academy will make pilot training "accessible to all" and encourage greater diversity in the field. The company has also announced a partnership with Vincennes University for flight students to complete their training at the academy.
Total tuition for the LIFT training program will be about $65,000, which Republic says is lower than most other aviation training schools in the United States. The airline will offer loans and sponsorships to qualified students. The company says students will be able to complete training and Federal Aviation Administration-required flight hours and earn a commercial pilot certification through the program.
Republic, which hires about 600 commercial pilots each year, estimates that number will grow by 50 percent over the next decade. Overall, the airline says the industry is facing a significant shortage, with an estimated need of 637,000 new commercial airline pilots by 2036. Factoring in pilot retirements and expected worldwide aviation growth, industry insiders expect the shortage in the U.S. to reach 8,000 commercial pilots by the end of 2020.
Republic says it will be the only regional airline to operate its own training academy designed to create a "classroom-to-cockpit’ path for its students.
“We believe the joy of flight should be available to all, and by partnering with our local schools and others in our community," says Republic Senior Vice President Matt Koscal," we are offering intellectually curious, aspiring aviators a world-class training program and a guaranteed, post-graduation pathway to a career at Republic."
The partnership with Vincennes begins next year. In addition to Vincennes flight students having access to LIFT Academy training, academy students will be able to pursue an online associate’s degree from the university.
Republic says student recruitment begins today, with the first class beginning in September.
You can view the full press conference announcing the academy below: