Transportation Updates

Delta’s Propel Program For Future Pilots Grows With Two More Universities

Delta Air Lines began hiring pilots as it expanded its capacity to Europe this summer. The Atlanta-based carrier is also preparing well to have a talented crop of crew members in later years. The company launched its Propel Pilot Career Path Program in 2018 to support hiring requirements with a quicker path to the cockpit. Now, the airline is expanding the initiative with two additional universities on board.

The window is currently open and students can apply to take part in the Propel program through September 17th. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Two to join the dozen

Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU) and Southeastern Oklahoma State University (Southern) have now joined the fold. They join 12 other institutions partnering with the airline with its pilot program.

Students that apply will go through a robust interview and evaluation procedure. If successful, they will receive a qualified job offer from Delta that details a defined path and catalyzed route to becoming a pilot.

SIU and Southern join the following universities that have partnered with the Propel program.

Arizona State UniversityAuburn UniversityEmbry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona BeachEmbry-Riddle Aeronautical University – PrescottInter American University of Puerto RicoJacksonville UniversityKent State UniversityMiddle Georgia State UniversityMiddle Tennessee State UniversityMinnesota State University, MankatoUniversity of North DakotaWestern Michigan University
Selected applicants will accumulate flight hours at the university where their training took place before having the option to fly for a Delta Connection operator or a military aircraft for the armed forces. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Opening up opportunities

It won’t be too long for those partaking in the program to start seeing the fruits of their labor. The first pilot trained by it is expected to enter the flight deck by next year.

First Officer and Propel liaison Courtney Copping shared the following in a Delta statement:

“This is the beginning of two new partnerships committed to ensuring the success of the students at outstanding institutions and providing Delta with quality candidates. Seeing is believing, and the Propel program shows students a defined path of how to achieve their dreams of flying for Delta.”

Meanwhile, First Officer and Propel liaison Will Weiss added the following:

“As a Southeastern alumni and Delta pilot, I’m very excited that Delta is adding Southeastern to the Propel program. The opportunities for current students are amazing, unlike any opportunities I had offered to me. Having a guaranteed job offer from Delta is an incredible opportunity. I hope to see many more Southeastern graduates here soon.”


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The recruitment drive is on

US airlines are keen to support the next generation pilots well in the coming years. Delta is joined by other carriers ramping up their efforts. For Instance, United Airlines shared in April that it plans on training 5,000 new pilots by the end of this decade via its Aviate Academy. The Chicago-based carrier aims for at least half of the new students to be women or people of color.

Pilots getty
Delta pilots will mentor those taking part in the airline’s project. Photo: Getty ImagesIt’s not just US airlines preparing for the future. European outfits are also as determined to hire a pool of talent. For instance, Ryanair is recruiting 2,000 pilots amid a partnership with the Airline Flight Academy. Moreover, Wizz Air plans to hire 4,600 pilots by the time the 2030s roll around.

Altogether, there could be a shortage of 60,000 pilots by the next decade. Even though flight operations have been presently rocked by the global health crisis, and many crew members have sadly lost their jobs, airlines also need to be ready for the strong demand expected from the second half of the 2020s.

What are your thoughts about the Delta Air Lines Propel program for aspiring pilots? What do you make of the overall initiative? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

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