WMU News

WMU and Northwest Airlink's Mesaba Airlines sign agreement

Aug. 19, 1999

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- Western Michigan University, which trains pilots for British Airways and other global air carriers, has entered into its first domestic training and hiring agreement with Northwest Airlink's Mesaba Airlines. The agreement will put WMU aviation graduates on a fast track to being hired as Mesaba flight officers.

"This is indeed an exciting agreement for the University and our students in the College of Aviation," said WMU president, Elson S. Floyd. "The fact that Northwest and Mesaba have enough confidence in our training curriculum to create a unique set of requirements for our graduates is further testament to the world-class nature of our program."

Under the terms of the agreement, called a "bridge training and hiring program," WMU aviation graduates will have lower Mesaba flying time requirements than outside flight officer candidates. University officials said that after examining its aviation program and curriculum, Mesaba agreed to streamline its requirements for WMU graduates.

"We have found that WMU's aviation curriculum is such that it prepares its graduates exceedingly well for entering commercial aviation," said Richard Lawrence, Mesaba's director of flight operations. "Western graduates are often well on their way to meeting our requirements, which is why we have modified our hiring guidelines for these students."

Founded in 1944, Mesaba currently offers more than 900 daily departures from 101 cities in 26 states and three Canadian provinces. The Minneapolis-based air carrier entered into an agreement in 1984 with Northwest Airlines to serve as Northwest's primary regional affiliate under the Northwest Airlink banner. In 1998 Mesaba was named Regional Airline of the Year by Air Transport World magazine.

WMU has been offering aviation courses since 1939. Its College of Aviation offers four undergraduate degree programs to some 600 students at the college's W.K. Kellogg Airport facilities in Battle Creek. The college also is the home to an International Pilot Training Centre, which currently has training contracts with three international air carriers, British Airways, Aer Lingus and Emirates Airlines.

Media contact: Matt Kurz, 616 387-8400, matt.kurz@wmich.edu

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