The new pilot recruitment partnerships are with Southern Airways Express and Tropic Ocean Airways

Wheels Up hopes to stay ahead of the battle to hire and train pilots via two new partnerships.

The new agreements are with Southern Airways Express and Tropic Ocean Airways.

They provide a pathway for pilots of the two carriers to move into Wheels Up open positions.

The private aviation provider offers the duo a pipeline of pilots who meet FAA and Wheels Up requirements but need more experience.

“Many pilots have the minimums but need a place to go and grow operationally. These pilots have strong fundamentals,” says Todd Wesoloskie, Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition.

The goal is that within 12 to 24 months, they will be ready, if they choose, to move to Wheels Up.

Wesoloskie says current partnerships account for half of its pilot hirings.

It has had a partnership with the Department of Defense’s Skillbrige since 2018.

Over the past two years, it has also announced partnerships it ATP Flight School, MAG Aerospace, and Delta Air Lines Propel programs.

Wheels Up’s pilot retention

Skillbridge allows pilots retiring from the military to fly for six months at Wheels Up before officially retiring.

Wesoloskie says 90% of those pilots end up staying with Wheels Up.

In terms of training slots, Wesoloskie says that it is timing its hiring to available training slots.

For private aviation, operators are being hampered by a bottleneck for training slots and then attrition on the back end as pilots look to fly for the Part 121 airlines.

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