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

  • Ikea readies its first East Coast store, touted as Canada's most sustainable

    Economic CTV News
    HALIFAX - Ikea is getting ready to officially open its first Atlantic Canadian store this week as thousands from across the region are expected to descend upon the popular Swedish furniture chain's new Halifax-area location. Source
  • Striking GM CAMI workers awaiting response to weekend contract proposal

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- The union representing 2,500 striking workers at GM Canada's CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ont., says the company has yet to respond to a comprehensive proposal put forward on the weekend. Unifor spokesman Mike Van Boekel says he expects it will take General Motors of Canada, which owns the plant, about a day to analyze the costs of the proposal. Source
  • Trudeau urges Canadian companies to seek fortune in China's $5 trillion market

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is urging Canadian small- and medium-sized businesses to look beyond Canada's borders and explore the US$5 trillion retail opportunity in China. Trudeau is speaking at a Toronto conference today hosted by Chinese e-Commerce giant Alibaba, with politicians from all three levels of government in attendance. Source
  • American business group says loss of free trade with U.S. would be a big concern

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA - A new report says potential changes to NAFTA and a loss of free trade with the United States represent the biggest concerns for a number of big American firms operating in this country. Source
  • French truck drivers block roads to protest labour changes

    Economic CTV News
    PARIS -- French truck drivers staged road blockages near fuel depots across the country Monday to protest against President Emmanuel Macron's changes to labour laws. Two major unions, CGT and FO, called a nationwide protest action because they fear the new rules Macron formally signed last week will lead to a deterioration in working conditions and ease the firing of workers. Source
  • Alibaba launching payment processing service AliPay in Canada

    Economic CBC News
    E-commerce giant Alibaba.com is launching its mobile payment service AliPay in Canada. The service allows Alibaba customers to use AliPay to easily pay Canadian merchants who sign up for the program. Alibaba is by far the most popular online sales website in China, and AliPay allows Chinese customers to buy products from abroad without any difficulties with currency conversion. Source
  • New Uber CEO apologies for company's past mistakes, vows change

    Economic CBC News
    The new CEO of Uber offered contrition for past mistakes on Monday, just days after London's transport authority said it would scrap the company's operating license. Dara Khosrowshahi issued a letter to London's Evening Standard newspaper acknowledging the company "has got things wrong along the way" as it expanded. Source
  • Uber CEO apologizes to London users for company's mistakes

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- The new CEO of Uber offered contrition for past mistakes on Monday, just days after London's transport authority said it would scrap the company's operating license. Dara Khosrowshahi issued a letter to London's Evening Standard newspaper acknowledging that the company "has got things wrong along the way" as it expanded. Source
  • Cenovus reaches agreement to sell Suffield assets for $512M

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY - Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX:CVE) says it has reached an agreement to sell its Suffield crude oil and natural gas operations in southern Alberta to International Petroleum Corporation for $512 million in cash. A release from the Calgary-based oilsands company says the sale, which includes Cenovus' properties on Canadian Forces Base Suffield and the adjacent Alderson property, is expected to close in the fourth quarter, subject to closing conditions. Source
  • NAFTA talks becoming 'a little more heated,' says Canada's chief negotiator

    Economic CBC News
    U.S. trade negotiators will only partially unveil new text on modifying a key chapter on investment under NAFTA, two well-placed sources said on Sunday, underlying the cautious pace of talks that are supposed to wrap up by the end of the year. Source