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Thu, Jan 31, 2008

JetBlue Unveils 'Aviation University Gateway' Program

Partners With ERAU, UND, Cape Air For Pilot Training

JetBlue Airways announced Wednesday the creation of the Aviation University Gateway, a career-planning and mentoring program designed to identify and recruit talented men and women into the professional pilot ranks, as the industry faces a shortage of qualified pilots.

Through rigorous academic training and regional airline experience, the Aviation University Gateway aims to create a clearly-defined career path for aspiring pilots, beginning early in an aviator's college career and culminating in the possibility of a final interview at a major airline.

JetBlue is partnering with aviation programs at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the University of North Dakota to fill the Aviation University Gateway's ranks with candidates demonstrating potential as professional pilots. The low-cost airline has also contracted with Massachusetts-based regional carrier Cape Air, to give program participants flying experience prior to interviewing at JetBlue.

"Since JetBlue's inception eight years ago, we have filled our cockpits with some of the airline world's finest pilots," said Dean Melonas, the airline's vice president of recruitment. "JetBlue remains a desirable choice among pilot candidates looking for an innovative and unique culture, strong growth opportunity, and competitive compensation.

"We are proud to be the first airline to provide the mentoring and structure for a student from early on in his or her university career, all the way through to the right seat of a JetBlue aircraft," Melonas added. "We look forward to taking the mystery out of the pilot career path with the Aviation University Gateway program."

"Cape Air is thrilled to be part of this exciting program," said Cape Air COO Dave Bushy. "Airlines like ours want to attract the best employees and pilots in their formative years. We feel that Cape Air can provide some of the finest aviation experience in the world, while also flying to some beautiful destinations. Here at Cape Air we believe this program is a homerun for the industry. We look forward to serving as the first of many regional partners for JetBlue in its Aviation University Gateway program."

"We are extremely pleased to have been asked to join this program as a university partner," said Dr. Tim Brady, dean of the College of Aviation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. "We are proud of our accredited aviation programs and know that JetBlue will gain many outstanding pilots through the Aviation University Gateway Program."

The Aviation University Gateway path is open to Embry-Riddle or North Dakota students with high academic standing (GPA of 3.0 or above) and recommendations from their professors. It requires a successful series of interviews with JetBlue and a regional airline partner, as well as the continued enrollment in an Aviation Accreditation Board International (ABBI)-accredited aviation program. D

During the Gateway program, participants will intern at Cape Air (and eventually other regional airline partners) and then serve as an instructor at their respective flight school. Following that process, candidates will fly with Cape Air for at least two years and then be eligible for a final interview at JetBlue.

FMI: www.jetblue.com, www.capeair.com, www.erau.edu, www.und.edu

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