Want to be a commercial pilot, but never flown a plane? JetBlue wants you

DALLAS -- JetBlue Airways is taking applications for 24 slots in a new program to train novice pilots to fly a passenger jet.

See Full Article

The airline said Monday that the program -- the first of its kind at a large U.S. airline -- will cost about $125,000 and take four years to complete. Graduates could wind up flying 100-seat passenger jets.

Warren Christie, JetBlue's senior vice-president of safety and training, say the program won't replace the airline's traditional pipelines for pilots, many of whom come from smaller airlines. JetBlue hired more than 300 pilots last year, and a group of 30 new hires just started training last week, he said.

Applicants will be judged with tests measuring hand-eye co-ordination, multitasking, critical thinking and other skills. Those who survive the first cut will be interviewed.

There also will be a "personality assessment" but not psychological screening, Christie said. The debate over psychological screening has increased since a Germanwings pilot intentionally crashed a plane last year in France, killing 150 people.

JetBlue expects the first group of six prospects to begin training in late summer at the airline's training centre in Florida. JetBlue hired CAE, a maker of flight simulators, to provide the training. CAE has run similar programs for EasyJet and Ryanair in Europe and several airlines in Asia.

Christie believes the program will open the profession to more people. The trainees will meet all federal requirements before carrying passengers, he said.

"They will absolutely be as qualified as any other pilot that is operating a JetBlue aircraft," he said.

Taking a page from programs in Europe, the students will start training with other crew members in a cockpit or simulator much earlier than usual, according to JetBlue and CAE. Currently, some new U.S. pilots learn by dusting crops or toting advertising banners -- experience that may bear little resemblance to working in an airliner cockpit.

The applicants will pay for their own training, and the cost is not much different from the amount that many aspiring pilots now spend to accumulate the 1,500 flight hours necessary for an airline pilot's license.

Christie said the students will be able to defray some of their costs by earning a salary as a CAE instructor for part of their training period. CAE declined to say how much it will pay instructors, describing it only as "a competitive salary."

Nick Leontidis, president of CAE's training business, said students who struggle will be flagged for remedial training and, failing that, expulsion. But washout rates in similar programs at other airlines have been "extremely low," he said.

"We believe this is going to be an important part of how airlines are going to create pilots in the future," Leontidis said.

The pilots' union at JetBlue pilots opposes the plan. Jim Bigham, chairman of the union's council, said JetBlue should instead hire pilots with experience at regional airlines who currently get passed over.

Bigham said he is not against training newcomers to the field, "but when they come out, I want them to go gain some real-world airline experience prior to becoming an apprentice at JetBlue."



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • British Airways cancels flights amid global computer outage

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- British Airways cancelled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports Saturday as a global IT failure caused severe disruption for travellers on a busy holiday weekend. The airline said it was suffering a "major IT systems failure" around the world. Source
  • Computer outage grounds hundreds of British Airways flights in London

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- British Airways cancelled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend. Source
  • British Airways outage spurs London travel chaos; power issue blamed

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- British Airways cancelled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend. Source
  • Broker, agent who worked with subsidiary of Home Capital disciplined

    Economic CBC News
    An Ontario regulator says it has imposed disciplinary actions against a mortgage broker and agent who worked with Home Trust Co., a subsidiary of Home Capital Group, over their handling of mortgages. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) says it conducted a review of 45 mortgage brokers and agents that Home Capital cut ties with after they were accused of falsifying income information several years ago. Source
  • Calgary man on lam in Mexico sentenced to 3 years in $27M mortgage fraud

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- A Calgary man who was arrested after being on the lam for two years in Mexico for his part in a $27 million mortgage fraud has been sentenced to three years in prison. Source
  • Nortel Canada to start paying billions to creditors

    Economic CBC News
    Nortel Canada's long-suffering creditors will finally begin to receive their share of more than US$4 billion to be distributed under a plan approved in January, eight years after the former technology titan began bankruptcy proceedings. Nortel Networks Corp. Source
  • Nortel Canada to start paying billions to creditors; first instalment by July

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - Nortel Canada's long-suffering creditors will finally begin to receive their share of more than US$4 billion to be distributed under a plan approved in January, eight years after the former technology titan began bankruptcy proceedings. Source
  • Que. construction strike: Day 3 kicks off with little to show at bargaining table

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- There is little progress to report at the table as Quebec's construction strike enters Day 3. Eric Cote, a spokesman for one association of employers, says negotiations resumed late Thursday and that representatives for his group emerged early today suggesting they were a waste of time. Source
  • Ford's ex-CEO leaves company with $51.1M US

    Economic CBC News
    Ford's former CEO Mark Fields is leaving the company with an estimated $51.1 million US in cash, stock awards and pension benefits. Fields, 56, retired earlier this week after three years as CEO. Ford made record profits during his tenure but its stock price dropped nearly 40 per cent on investors' concerns about the company's future. Source
  • Ford's ex-CEO leaves company with US$51.1 million

    Economic CTV News
    DETROIT -- Ford's former CEO Mark Fields is leaving the company with an estimated US$51.1 million in cash, stock awards and pension benefits. Fields, 56, retired earlier this week after three years as CEO. Source