United Opens New Flight Training Facility

United's new building at their Flight Training Center in Denver. Credit: PR Newswire

On February 22, United Airlines opened its new, 150,000-square-foot building at its Flight Training Center in Denver. Already the largest facility of its kind in the world, the additional building gives the airline the capability to add 12 more advanced full-motion flight simulators to the facility, six of which have already been delivered.

United’s Flight Training Center now has eight total buildings, more than 700,000 square feet of training space, and 46 state-of-the-art full-motion flight simulators. 

So far in 2024, the airline has hired more than 300 pilots after hiring more than 2,300 pilots last year. The new building at the campus adds even more training capacity for United’s 16,000 pilots. These investments in people, infrastructure and technology continue to fuel the airline’s United Next plan.

United CEO Scott Kirby was joined by leaders from the Flight Training Center and Denver Mayor Mike Johnston to celebrate the opening and show off the facility.

“We’re growing faster than any airline in the industry and our investments in our pilots and their training are critical to support the unprecedented number of new aircraft United will add to our fleet in the decades ahead,” said Kirby. “United pilots are the best aviators in the world and the way we recruit, hire and train directly supports that high standard of excellence.”

Located in the Central Park neighborhood of Denver, the facility spans 23-acres and is the sole training facility for the airline’s nearly 16,000 active pilots and all newly hired pilots. All United pilots complete intensive simulator training with pilot instructors and evaluators during the initial qualification process and every nine months thereafter to maintain their certifications at United’s Flight Training Center in Denver.

  • Currently, United’s Flight Training Center has 46 full-motion flight simulators, including six in the new building, and 21 fixed training devices.
  • In addition to the six already in the new building, it has space to add six more full-motion flight simulators.
  • The addition of the new building allows for a total of 52 full-motion flight simulators and 34 fixed training devices at the Flight Training Center.
  • The new building gives the Flight Training Center the ability to conduct more than 32,000 training events annually and train up to 860 pilots per day.
  • The facility is in operation 24 hours a day for 362 days a year.

United invested more than $145 million in the new building and it’s expected to lead to more than 370 new jobs. In total, more than 1,600 of United’s 10,000+ Denver-based employees work at United’s Flight Training Center, representing 24 different departments in roles that include flight instructing, flight evaluating, scheduling, pilot hiring, human resources and flight standards. In 2023, more than $44 million was spent on hotel room nights in Denver for pilots visiting the training facility, with an expectation to spend more than $65 million in 2024.

United’s Flight Training Center was originally constructed between 1966-68 as part of the Stapleton Airport complex and has served as United’s main pilot training facility since then. Since 2016, United has invested $370 million in the Flight Training Center overall.

United continues to invest in Denver. In the summer of 2023, United announced the purchase of two parcels of undeveloped land near Denver International Airport (DEN), part of which will be used to further expand its Flight Training Center as the current Flight Training Center site does not have capacity for additional growth. United is aiming to have flight training capabilities at the Flight Training Center expansion by 2028.

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