U of M to Launch Commercial Aviation Program This Fall


Crew Training International instructor working with students - CIT
  • CIT
  • Crew Training International instructor working with students

The University of Memphis will begin training pilots this fall with a new commercial aviation program.

The university is partnering with Millington’s Crew Training International (CTI) Professional Flight Training to offer a Bachelor of Science in Commercial Aviation degree.

David Rudd, U of M president said the Commercial Aviation program is meant to prepare students for 21st-century jobs and better position them for opportunities at companies like Fedex Express.

“There will be ample demand for qualified, well-trained pilots in the coming decades, and this program and partnership will help U of M students become top candidates for these careers,” Rudd said.

Students in the program will receive 61 credit hours of professional aviation training, and 59 hours of classroom instruction including courses in business and management. The degree is meant to prepare graduates for careers in corporate and general aviation, other aviation-related businesses, airport operations, and government regulation of aviation.

With a bachelor’s degree in aviation, a graduate's required number of flight hours to become a commercial pilot decreases by 500.

The program also gives veterans an opportunity to use post-9/11 benefits for flight training costs, now that the U of M is partnering with CTI. Additionally, high school students in the Aviation Study program at T-STEM Academy East High School are expected to “naturally and locally progress into the U of M’s program.”

This will create an “exciting local path that has a global impact,” Jim Bowman, senior vice president of flight operations for Fedex said.

The program will be “uniquely positioned” to support the needs of the local community and address the “looming” pilot shortage. The U of M reports that more than 42 percent of active U.S. airline pilots will retire over the next 10 years. Boeing estimates that in the next 20 years, North American airlines need 117,000 new pilots.

Bowman said as the aviation industry evolves, aviators have to be more tech savvy and better prepared academically than before.

“I’m excited that the University of Memphis is now part of the path to a successful career in the aviation industry, and I congratulate the university’s leadership for having the foresight to create this program,” Bowman said.

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