United seeks to build its own diverse pipeline of pilots

United Airlines says it will train 5,000 pilots at its own academy in this decade, and it hopes that half of them will be women or people of color. United said Tuesday it is now taking applications for the academy in Arizona, including from people who have no flying experience. United was threatening to furlough pilots and other employees until recently because of the sharp downturn in travel during the pandemic. Now travel is coming back — although it still hasn’t returned to 2019 levels — and United plans to hire pilots this year, and more in the long run. Replacements will be be needed for thousands of U.S. airline pilots approaching the mandatory retirement age of 65.