How the Phoenix area will help United Airlines fill more planes

Published: Monday, August 8, 2022 - 5:05am
Updated: Monday, August 8, 2022 - 11:29am

United Airlines is counting on the West Valley to help grow its pilots. The airline expects to graduate 240 students this year at its training campus at Phoenix Goodyear Airport.

Papia Gambelin, United Airlines managing director, state and local government affairs, western region, told a Maricopa Association of Governments committee the airline will be getting 270 new aircraft. 

“We need to train 5,000 pilots out of that academy and then have another 5,000 brought on board by 2026 to meet this goal of these planes coming into the system,” she said.

Industry wide, Gambelin said about 6% of pilots are women and 6% are people of color. 

“We want over 50% of that class each year to be comprised of women and people of color and this class, it’s over 80%,” she said. “When we made that statement it was a call out to so many people who thought they couldn’t get into this industry and we saw people coming from all over.”

Typically, pilot training can take about five years and cost between $70,000 and $100,000. Gambelin said. United is offering more than $2 million in scholarships for its Goodyear program.