INDIANAPOLIS — Airlines across the country are looking for pilots. The growing shortage is putting added pressure on airlines to keep their routes arriving on time.

“In the next two decades we are going to need over 800,000 pilots globally,” said Ed Bagden, Director of Operations and Academic programs for the flight school Lift Academy.

The Federal Aviation Administration mandates require pilots to retire when they reach 65 years old. The heart of the baby boomer surge is hitting that mark now.

Lift Academy in Indy is owned by Republic Airways. They are offering financial and tuition incentives for people looking to become a pilot. Their academy takes 12 months to complete, and after that students can become instructors or begin flying for their Cape Air Program. Those pathways help pilots reach the required 1,500 flight hours necessary for their airline transport certificate, which will allow them to fly larger commercial planes.

“The cost of Lift Academy program from zero experience is $90,000. We are currently offering a $15,000 subsidy from Republic to that cost, and an additional $15,000 upon completion of the program,” detailed Bagden. “Pilots that are at a regional airline like Republic are typically making six-figures within a couple years. It’s not just the compensation with the salary, but the ability to travel the world with flight benefits.”

“From my knowledge there are not many flight schools with a direct pathway to an airline,” said Ethan Denton, a student talking about Lift Academy and Republic. “We got to learn how to be an airline pilot day one coming here.”

Lift says they were founded in 2018 to help create a swift path to becoming a pilot with less barriers. Delta recently began reducing their requirements. They are no longer asking applicants to have a college degree.

“A four-year degree is not required both at the regionals and at the majors,” said Bagden discussing Lift Academy requirements, “We do require a high school diploma, [and applicants to be] 18 years old.”

If you are thinking about making a career change, and are interested in becoming a pilot, you can learn more about Lift Academy by clicking here.

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