JetBlue ramps up efforts to build diverse pipeline of new Pilots and Maintenance Technicians

posted on 9th December 2021 by Eddie Saunders
JetBlue ramps up efforts to build diverse pipeline of new Pilots and Maintenance Technicians

JetBlue today announced it is advancing efforts to meet the growing demand for qualified pilots and maintenance technicians through its industry-leading suite of education and training programs, JetBlue Gateways.

JetBlue has demonstrated that airlines can meet the growing need for aviation professions through programs that offer a range of pathways into the industry, while also opening the door to more candidates from underrepresented communities, including women and people of color.

JetBlue Gateways program offers seven distinct education and training paths to becoming a JetBlue pilot or maintenance technician.

JetBlue’s program is the longest running US airline program, which produces a significant number of new hire pilots for an airline.

12% of JetBlue’s new hire pilots to date in 2021 came to the airline through one of these non-traditional programs and the pipeline for both pilots and maintenance technicians continues to grow:

  • Gateway Select, JetBlue’s landmark training program for aspiring pilots with no flight experience, successfully placed its first 28 pilots this summer after extensive education and training, many of whom came from unlikely backgrounds like a movie theater manager, a teacher, and a project manager.
  • Gateway University has expanded to include eleven partner schools, adding four new aviation colleges to the program in 2021, including the first historically black college and university (HBCU) to participate.
  • This fall, JetBlue Pilot Gateway Programs® was expanded to include opportunities for those aspiring to become aircraft maintenance technicians, with the first class of accepted candidates through JetBlue’s crewmember development Gateway Direct (Tech-Ops) starting in 2022.
  • With its crewmember-centric culture, in the first quarter of 2022 JetBlue will further expand its crewmember development Gateways by extending the opportunity to participate in a pilot pathway to the immediate family of current JetBlue crewmembers.

“As travel rebounds and we prepare for growth from our Northeast Alliance with American Airlines, we need to ensure a pipeline of qualified pilots and technicians over the next several years,” said Warren Christie, head of safety, security and fleet operations, JetBlue.

“Successful candidates will not only be skilled in their craft but also reflect JetBlue’s culture, and through the Gateways programs, we can invest in our future crewmembers from day one.”

Women and people of color have typically been under-represented within the pilot and maintenance technician professions.

JetBlue is breaking down the barriers to find candidates from all background who exhibit the skill and aptitude to take on these high-quality and high paying airline jobs.

etBlue’s Landmark Gateway Select Delivers

This year, JetBlue welcomed to the company its first Gateway Select pilots. These 28 pilots are the first to complete the airline’s groundbreaking ab initio program, first announced in 2016. With Gateway Select, candidates with little or no flying experience but demonstrate the aptitude of a JetBlue pilot, can secure a path to land first officer status.

“Gateway Select was the perfect opportunity that presented a structured path to a dream job,” said First Officer Philip Carroll, JetBlue.

“I can’t discount the relationships and support network JetBlue provided. Though the course was challenging, we covered everything needed to prepare for a great career.”

“When we first announced Gateway Select, it was a radical new concept in the United States,” Christie said.

“We’ve proven that with the right selection criteria and our structured training approach, we can move highly trained and qualified pilots into the flight deck.

“What’s even more exciting is that we see growing participation from underrepresented communities with women and people of color making up more than 53% of our Gateway Select classes, either in training or currently flying for JetBlue.

“This growing diversity which far exceeds industry averages is not only more reflective of the communities we serve, it shows the value and potential of expanding our search for tomorrow’s aviation professionals”.