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United Airlines Purchases Flight School At Phoenix Deer Valley Airport

United Airlines has purchased a flight school in Phoenix as part of a nationwide effort to train more commercial pilots. The company hopes to train and hire 10,000 new pilots by 2029.

The growing shortage of commercial airline pilots is due to several factors, including cost of training, the need for at least 1,500 hours of experience and the impending loss of thousands of flight captains as they reach the mandatory retirement age of 65 years.

United bought the Westwind School of Aeronautics at Deer Valley Airport to speed up the recruitment process.

“We need to enhance our package to attract the best and the brightest. Aviation is vital to the national airspace, and I think they realized you always want the best possible person you can have in the flight deck," said Tim Holt, Dean of the College of Aviation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott.

Holt describes Arizona as the “hub of aviation in this country,” featuring the best airspace and one of the top flight education systems of any state in the United States.

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Harry Croton was an intern at KJZZ in 2020.