United has opened its largest Inflight Training Center in Houston, Texas, a 56,000 sq. ft. facility that includes new classrooms, additional cabin and door trainers and an aquatic center that features a 125,000-gallon pool and mock fuselage to practice the safe evacuation of the plane in the unlikely event of a water landing. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner joined United CEO Scott Kirby at a ceremonial ribbon cutting event in Houston to officially open the new training center.
The $32 million expansion project more than doubles the available training space and supports the airline's plan to hire and train a total of 15,000 people in 2023, including 4,000 flight attendants.
United plans to train more than 600 flight attendants per month at the newly expanded Houston facility and the expansion project is another example of United's focus on long-term investments in infrastructure, tools and technology to support its United Next growth plan as well as the airline's continued commitment to Houston.
New United flight attendants will go through a six-week and a half training course at the Houston facility and then return every 18 months to stay current on their qualifications. The campus includes inflight service training spaces with mock seats, a 400+-seat auditorium and a public address room where trainees can practice their onboard announcements. The centerpiece of the building is a new Aquatic Center that includes a 125,000-gallon pool to practicing the safe evacuation of the plane in the unlikely event of a water landing.
As part of the construction of the facility, and in support of Mayor Turner's climate action plan to build local storm-resilient infrastructure, United included an underground prefabricated storm detention vault that can hold more than 268,000 gallons of water and store stormwater runoff in large underground pipes or vaults.
The airline has also made additional ongoing investments and commitments to its Houston operation. United recently launched Calibrate, a 36-month apprenticeship program to grow and diversify the airline's pipeline of aircraft technicians and chose Houston for its first cohort. Through Calibrate, United plans to train 1,000 new aircraft technicians by 2026 – with a goal of at least half being women or people of color.
United has also been in collaboration with the Houston Independent School District to inspire a new generation of diverse aviation leaders. Fifty Sterling High School students currently enrolled in the school's aviation program are partnered with Houston-based United employees who provided support and guidance as they look to pursue a career in the aviation industry, including pilots and aircraft mechanics.