American Airlines (AA) has set up a Cadet Academy which will allow successful candidates to become First Officers at one of its three wholly owned regional carriers before eventually flying larger aircraft with AA.

Once selected, cadets will train for 18 months at their choice of AA’s three partner flight schools in the US: American Flyers in Dallas, Texas and Pompano Beach, Florida; Crew Training International (CTI) in Memphis, Tennessee; and CAE in Phoenix, Arizona.

Cadets also have the option to work with Discover Student Loans to apply for a loan up to the total cost of the programme, including room and board. Discover Student Loans’ financing programme will provide them with competitive variable and fixed interest rate private student loans with zero fees and deferred payments for up to three and a half years while the cadet completes the programme in preparation for prospective employment with Envoy Air, Piedmont Airlines or PSA Airlines.

Captain Kimball Stone, VP Flight at American Airlines, commented, “The lack of financing options has restricted the size of the pilot pool, leaving some of the most talented people out of the running. By removing this roadblock from the student experience, we will attract a diverse group of professional aviators to American for years to come.”