United Airlines investing $100 million in pilot training center

United Airlines is planning to invest $100 million to expand its training center in Denver, Colo., as part of a broader push to enlarge its workforce and hire more pilots and airline staff.

The airline company will expand its Flight Training Center, which United Airlines described as the “largest facility of its kind in the world” in a news release. The facility is located on a campus in the neighborhood of Denver’s Central Park.

On the 23-acre campus, United Airlines plans to construct a four-story building stocked with 12 advanced flight simulators as well as training rooms, conference rooms and offices. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

The news comes as United Airlines is planning to hire 10,000 more pilots by 2030 and 50,000 employees in the next five years.

Marc Champion, the managing director of the Flight Training Center, said the “expansion of this world-class facility gives United even more resources to recruit and train the next generation of aviators.”

“Our pilots are the best in the industry and flying remains one of the best, union careers in the world – great pay and benefits and the chance to captain the biggest planes to the most places around the world,” Champion said in a statement.

The Flight Training Center in Denver, completed in 1968, hosts seven buildings across 550,000 square feet of training space, according to the company, and is the only training facility for United Airline’s 12,000 active pilots.

Pilots must return to the training center every nine months to be re-certified, meaning there could be as many as 600 pilots training there at any one time.

The news also comes as airlines brace for a massive summer wave of travelers as the U.S. emerges from COVID-19 restrictions and mask mandates implemented during the worst days of the pandemic.

That trend is expected to continue post-pandemic.