Flight schools booming as job opportunities open for pilots

August 14, 2019

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Enrollment is booming at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and other flight schools as pilots at major airlines are hitting retirement age.

The school’s assistant dean Kenneth Byrnes tells The Daytona Beach News-Journal “there’s jobs like there hasn’t been in a long, long time.”

When classes begin Aug. 26, the school’s residential campuses in Daytona Beach and Prescott, Arizona, are expecting a 20% increase in enrollment over 2018, when there were nearly 2,000 aeronautical science students.

The Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne has seen “steady growth” in its flight school over the past three years. Associate Dean Isaac Silver says a pilot shortage is driving enrollment.

Silver says pilots at regional airlines are replacing retiring pilots. That means regional carriers are looking for “qualified first officers.”