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Delta looking to hire 8,000 new pilots over the next ten years as deficit looms

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Airlines intensification of the recruitment in the face of the pilot shortage

Boeing says hundreds of thousands of new pilots will be needed in the next two decades; Alicia Acuna reports from Denver.

For anyone hoping to be a pilot, there is no better time to be in the cockpit thanks to Delta’s new career program.

The Atlanta-based airline is looking to hire 8,000 new pilots for the next 10 years by encouraging current employees to take an unpaid leave of absence and attend flight school. Delta is working with eight universities in order to promote the aviation field of the students.

“Delta conducted several years of research to create a pilot outreach and pathway programs that will inspire and attract the next generations of high-quality talent,” Steve Dickson, Senior Vice President of Flight, said in a statement.

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As the industry is facing a pilot shortage, Delta’s new program aims to supplement the current recruitment structure as they work to attract new aviation-professionals.

The Boeing’s Pilot Outlook predicts the industry should 117,000 new pilots between 2017 and 2036 in North America alone. Worldwide, the demand for new pilots around 637,000 during the same period.

Kevin Kuhlmann, the associate chairman of the Aerospace science Department at Metro State University of Denver, told Fox News airlines aviation schools for new employees because they have few other choices.

“The regional carriers have started to enter into agreements with Collegiate Aviation Programs and entice students to come on board during their academic career,” Kuhlmann said. “These kinds of opportunities were not available five or more years ago.”

In cooperation with the colleges, Delta train prospective pilots on an accelerated timeline in 42 months or less. For the current Delta employees, the airline is encouraging people who are working in other parts of the company to transition into a pilot career by taking an unpaid leave of absence and enroll in the school.

Delta is not the first airline to invest in the recruitment efforts to attract new pilots. Last year, Jet Blue extended the Pilot Gateway, Select program, which started in 2016. The four-year training program is designed to teach just about anyone who is a commercial pilot. In 2017, the program accepted 24 new candidates.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation launched the Forces to Flyers Research Initiative, a new program to help veterans become pilots.

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The federal program is designed to address the nationwide pilot shortage during the work to veterans with the skills and training needed to become commercial pilots.

The three-year initiative will focus on identifying barriers to training and employment in the area, and offer flight training up to 40 people who are interested in pursuing a career path.

Fox News’ Kelly David Burke contributed to this report.

Michelle Gant is a writer and editor for Fox News Lifestyle.

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