Auburn University, Delta Airlines partner to groom new pilots

Updated: Jul. 20, 2018 at 4:53 PM CDT
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AUBURN, AL (WSFA) - A new partnership between Auburn University and Delta Airlines is lining students up to be Delta pilots.

"The Delta Airline Propel Career Path Program for pilots where they have partnered with eight schools, us being one of them,  to identify, select and then mentor train over a course of months or years, however it ends up working out for each of the candidates," said Assistant Chief Flight Instructor Kurt Reesman.

The Delta Propel Pilot Career Path Program has three main areas of focus— college, company and community. This three-pronged approach will help Delta support future aviators as well as current Delta employees who have a passion for aviation and a strong interest in becoming a Delta pilot.

"They get to go be either one of the Delta Connection Carriers and fly for the Delta Private Jets, and that's a part-time arrangement where they do that for part of the time, and then they flight instruct back here for part and the other would be Air National Guard Reserve as a pilot in the military," said Reesman.

This is the second partnership announcement between Delta and Auburn. In November, Delta Air Lines, the Delta Air Lines Foundation and the Jacobson Family Foundation granted $6.2 million to support multiple programs at Auburn. The gift is funding the construction of the Delta Air Lines Aviation Education Building, as well as support the purchase of an aircraft simulator and create endowed faculty professorships within the Department of Aviation, home of one of the longest standing public flight programs in the country. Delta's gift also will provide funding for the university's Radio-Frequency Identification, or RFID Lab.

During the next decade, Delta expects to hire more than 8,000 pilots to staff the thousands of daily flights it operates around the world as other pilots approach mandatory retirement age. To prepare for this shift in the workforce, Delta has partnered with eight universities.

The other universities are Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Prescott; Middle Georgia State University; Middle Tennessee State University; Minnesota State University, Mankato; University of North Dakota; and Western Michigan University.

The Propel program builds on Delta's long-standing investments in the future of aviation professionals and the communities it serves worldwide.

The Collegiate Pilot Career Path will begin accepting applications August 2018.

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