University of North Dakota department of aviation chair Kent Lovelace remembers a time—not too long ago—when student pilots were eager to go work for airlines. “Ten-15 years ago, 75% to 80% of our students wanted to fly for an airline,” he said. “Often they knew which airline they wanted to work for and which aircraft they wanted to fly. That’s changed dramatically … I think the biggest issue is cost. [An airline pilot career in the US has] ...

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