Citing a need for 10,000 new pilots in the next decade, United Airlines announced a new “Aviate” pilot recruitment program that it said offers candidates the quickest progression from college to first officer of any major airline.

Aviate includes career pathways for both new candidates and established pilots, from college training through regional airline experience. Candidates selected for the program will receive a conditional job offer with United.

Participating in the program are leading universities with established aviation programs and training centers, including Lufthansa Aviation Training, United said. Participating regional airlines are United Express carriers Air Wisconsin, ExpressJet, Mesa Airlines and CommutAir.

Chicago-based United said it anticipates hiring 10,000 pilots by 2029 because of retirements, attrition and projected growth.

“With nearly half of our 12,500 pilots retiring in the next decade, combined with a period of strong growth at our airline, United is uniquely positioned to offer pilots the opportunity to get where they want to go in their careers faster than ever,” United SVP-flight operations and chief pilot Bryan Quigley said.

Bill Carey, bill.carey@aviationweek.com