LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As more and more pilots retire from aviation, experts anticipate a looming pilot shortage despite a growing demand in the industry.
To help offset the need, Allegiant wants to find and offer the next generation of aviation professionals scholarships. So far, three students from North Dakota have grabbed hold of the chance of a lifetime.
“It was intimidating,” said Kylee Aberlee, an Allegiant scholarship recipient. “Very realistic.”
That was Aberlee’s response as she sat in the cockpit of a full-motion flight simulator with a pilot instructor. The simulator shows students what it’s like to fly a commercial aircraft.
The hands-on experience was part of her tour at Allegiant’s Flight Training Center. Aberlee and two others came to Las Vegas from Fargo, North Dakota after the airline awarded each of them $2,500.
[It’s] “to kind of give them a jumpstart on their next phase of their aviation career, whether that’s part of their college tuition or whether they’re going on to flight school,” said Hilarie Grey, a spokesperson for Allegiant.
The airline started the Allegiant Careers in Aviation Scholarship to encourage students pursuing this growing industry.
“That job pool is just going to expand, so we want young students — really young students to be exposed to aviation; to look at not just can i be a pilot, can i be a flight attendant, but what are the other careers,” said Grey.
Allegiant chose Fargo because of an aviation magnate program there that is similar to the one at Rancho High School. It’s also a destination for the airline.
“We were introduced to them by the airport director in Fargo, and we met the school district and struck up a partnership,” Grey said.
Allegiant flew the scholarship recipients along with their families to Las Vegas, offering a chance to tour the headquarters and help Aberlee as well as the others, determine what path they may travel.
“I still know I want to do something in aviation, so I don’t know; management or something,” said Aberlee.
Allegiant Air also offered the scholarship to three students from Rancho High School this year. The airline wants to expand the program to other cities in the future.