RUSTON, La. (KTVE/KARD) – Louisiana Tech University announced a new partnership with United’s Aviate aiming to connect aviation students with United Airlines. 

The shortage of pilots has become critical, and United Airlines is addressing this challenge by creating its own specialized training program. 

Executive Director of Communications and Marketing at Louisiana Tech University, Tonya Oaks Smith, says the United Aviate program will provide students a direct pathway to United Airlines hoping to help the nationwide pilot shortage.

“It opens a whole new set of doors for those students, and we want them to be able to explore those opportunities, and this partnership will allow them to do that.”

The Louisiana Tech University is the first school in the state to partner with this pilot career development program. Oaks says Louisiana Tech students and instructors can apply to the program and receive a conditional job offer.

“After earning a RATP, a minimum of 1,000 hours, at Louisiana Tech University, Aviate participants will fly for a United Express partner for 2,000 hours and 24 months before coming to United Airlines as a First Officer.”

“That’s really great,” said Christian Hunter, a student. “Especially since I have friends who are in the aviation program. It’s exciting that they will have new opportunities for them.”

Once students gain access to high-impact practices, they will begin their journey toward becoming United Airlines pilots and fly with Aviate’s partner airlines such as Air Winsconsin, GoJet Airlines, and Mesa Airlines. 

The program is expected to start this Fall and make an official announcement in September.