New partnership gives Western students pipeline to pilot's seat at Allegiant

Contact: Erin Flynn
Rob Butler and Raymond Thompson shake hands.

Robert Butler, of Allegiant, and Dr. Raymond Thompson signed an agreement today launching Western's Accelerate Pilot Pathway program participation.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Creating a smooth landing for College of Aviation students, Allegiant Travel Company has selected Western Michigan University as an inaugural partner in its Accelerate Pilot Pathway program, which will streamline the career trajectory for Broncos. 

Students who enroll in the program are assigned an Allegiant mentor to guide them through their educational journey and have the opportunity to be hired as a cadet their senior year with a conditional job as an Allegiant first officer.

An Allegiant airplane takes off on the runway.

Photo courtesy Allegiant Travel Company

"We're excited for this new partnership in Allegiant's Accelerate Pilot Pathway program, which offers our flight students important experience-driven learning opportunities while they complete their degrees here at Western," says Tom Grossman, executive director of flight operations in Western's College of Aviation. "The ability for our students to seamlessly transition from flight school to a career with a major carrier is huge."

The aviation industry is experiencing a flight crew staffing shortage at a time when demand for air travel is at a historic high. By providing mentorship, conditional employment and assistance with regulatory credentials, Allegiant hopes the Accelerate Pilot Pathway will streamline the process new pilots face.

“This program provides an excellent opportunity for talented and motivated students to pursue their dream of becoming a first officer with a major airline without the need to fly for a regional carrier,” says Tyler Hollingsworth, Allegiant's vice president of flight crew operations. “Bypassing this step means pilots will enjoy the benefits only a commercial carrier can offer. We look forward to welcoming our future first officers and supporting them through their training and career with Allegiant."

Noah Stone stands in front of a white board at the front of a classroom giving a presentation to a group of students.

Noah Stone, recruiter for Allegiant, gives a presentation to College of Aviation Students about the Accelerate program.

Students and recent alumni hired as cadets have the ability to visit Allegiant's headquarters in Las Vegas as well as the airline's training centers. Once a cadet completes their required hours of flight training, Allegiant will sponsor their Airline Transport Pilot Certification course. Upon completion, the cadet will join Allegiant as a first officer. Western currently has 13 cadets in the Accelerate program, and two of them have started training as first officers.

"Accelerate has enabled great mentorship opportunities that will ultimately prepare me ahead of time for the next chapter in my aviation career: flying for Allegiant," says Noah Mascarin, a 2021 graduate of Western's aviation flight science program and current Accelerate cadet.

"This agreement demonstrates the confidence that Allegiant Air has in the quality of graduates that WMU provides. This is a win-win situation for both the airline and our aviation Broncos," Grossman adds.

This partnership adds to the robust portfolio of career pathway programs with aviation industry leaders available to Western College of Aviation students. In addition to Allegiant, Broncos can participate in the Delta Propel Pilot Career Path Program, United Aviate Pilot Development Program, AAR EAGLE Career Pathway Program and SkyWest Pilot Pathway and AMT Pathway programs.

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