Spirit Airlines announced Thursday a historic partnership that would create a pipeline for Liberty University School of Aeronautics students to the budget airlines in a move that hopes to address the pilot shortage.
The Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway program at the Lynchburg, Virginia university is the tenth program in the nation which offers graduates a fast track to become a pilot with the budget airline.
Spirit Airlines' Senior Director of Flight Operations and System Chief Pilot Ryan Rodosta praised the Christian college for their, "premier pilot training program."
"We put a lot of hard work into developing the Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway program and assembling a great group of partners making it incredibly rewarding to reach this key milestone," Rodosta said in a press release.
"Liberty University offers a premier pilot training program designed to provide graduates with the skills to lead in the aviation field, and Spirit’s growth creates opportunities for those graduates to achieve their dreams with us," Rodosta said.
Liberty aeronautic students can apply for the program after finishing their sophomore year and getting a recommendation from a faculty member.
If accepted in Spirit's program, the airlines said that the prospective pilots will receive a conditional offer of employment, a Spirit Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) and mentorship as they complete their degree and build flight hours.
Other airlines are also seeking to supplement their incoming employees as their nation's pilot shortage continues.
Similarly, Jet Blue's Gateway program, United Airlines Aviate program and American Airlines Cadet program all hope to attract flight students.