Air travel has its challenges. From the long lines at security checkpoints to long delays caused by bad weather, those who fly regularly know that air travel is rarely issue-free.
To make things even more challenging, the aviation industry is now facing a pilot shortage, meaning airlines don’t have the crews to get their planes in the air, which reduces the number of seats they have to sell to passengers. The latest stats show the shortage is resulting in 100,000 fewer flights each month across the industry.
Trey Walters, CEO of Blue Line Aviation, has a solution for the problem. His organization is striving to end the pilot shortage by providing flight training that is more accessible, efficient, and responsive to the need for highly qualified pilots in the aviation industry.
“Blue Line exists because other flight schools did not do a good job when I went through my flight training,” Walters shares. “My experience inspired me to start something different and better. Blue Line focuses on accelerated flight training that is well-managed, done safely, and delivers results for our students.”
Blue Line streamlines the certification process
There are several factors that have contributed to the pilot shortage. At the top of the list is the fact that a record number of pilots have retired in recent years.
The airline industry, like many others, is facing the challenges caused by baby boomers reaching retirement age — pilots are forced to retire at age 65. While legislators are seeking changes to aviation laws that would allow pilots to fly longer, the legislation they are currently considering would only extend a pilot’s eligibility to age 67.
To make matters worse for the industry, many airlines encouraged pilots to take early retirement when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. As these factors come together, they are causing a shortfall that experts estimate could result in the need for 30,000 pilots by 2025.
Blue Line provides the type of program needed to fix the problem. “We are the fastest flight school in the nation, but the quality of our instruction and training is not sacrificed,” explains Walters. “Students start with zero experience and become professional career pilots in as little asfive-and-a-half months.”
Blue Line also streamlines the process of going from graduate to employed pilot by assisting with commercial airline career placement. The school has relationships with Republic Airways, Endeavor Air, PSA Airlines, Mountain Air Cargo, and more. Representatives from those airlines routinely visit Blue Line facilities to meet with students, provide information on their companies, and guide students through the pilot interview process.
Blue Line addresses financial barriers
The costs associated with becoming a pilot are cited by experts as another factor contributing to the shortage. Instruction fees, the cost of equipment and supplies, and licensing and exam fees add up, often totaling more than $100,000.
Blue Line addresses this hurdle by offering students financing that covers the pilot program, housing, test fees, training supplies, and more. “We understand that funding your way through flight school can be your biggest barrier to entry,” Walters says. “That’s why we have partnered with Skybound to provide competitive financing options for our Career Pilot Program. No payments are due until 60 days after graduation from the program.”
Blue Line prepares pilots for a modern career
The chief danger associated with any workforce shortage is that the new staff hired to fill gaps will not be competent. Blue Line is committed to making sure that does not happen in the airline industry.
“We don’t just teach the test, we teach our students to be capable and resilient pilots,” Walters affirms. “It’s critical that pilots know the information thoroughly with a deep understanding. Our instructors take pride in making sure each student has a firm understanding of how the airplane works and — most importantly — knows safety procedures. We go well beyond simply hitting the flight hours requirement and going for a checkride.”
While Blue Line’s program is accelerated, it does not involve shortcuts. In fact, its students receive additional educational enrichment through access to member ground sessions, which cover a variety of topics like avionics systems, engine systems, weather, and aerodynamics.
Blue Line also ensures its graduates are ready for a career in the modern world of aviation, as its team understands that a big part of learning to fly is having access to the right facilities and tools. That is why Blue Line provides its students with a large fleet of aircraft, a sizable facility, an available and knowledgeable staff, and the new Diamond Flight Simulator. Everything they use in their training is modern, preparing students for an airline career in which they will fly modern jets.
“We look at what we do here as not just providing training for students to get them through a single test,” Walters explains. “We are changing a generation by providing expert training to pilots whose work will impact billions of air travelers.”