HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A major opportunity has opened in Hawaii for those hoping to work in the airline industry.
The University of Hawaii is partnering with an aviation academy to create courses which will foster pilots, mechanics, flight attendants, and aeronautical engineers.
The University of Hawaii and Japan Aviation Academy signed a letter of intent to work together on Thursday.
Stakeholders say this could not only help with the world-wide pilot shortage but could boost Hawaii’s economy and the university’s enrollment numbers.
“One of the opportunities we see is combining the pilot training, that’s the flight training aspect of it, with our ability to deliver education and ideally we can end up developing a program in partnership that results in students who get a B.S. (Bachelor of Science) in aviation science and also are qualified to become pilots,” said University of Hawaii President David Lassner.
Japan Aviation Academy is the largest and oldest aviation school in Japan.
Chancellor Shigeo Umezawa plans to expand and create Japan Aviation Academy of Hawaii.
In addition, the academy is looking to add a business component to the school.
The goal is to be a one-stop-shop: not only train and educate those aspiring to work in the aviation industry, but provide jobs for them as well.
“We are hoping not only to create people who will be able to work in the industry with the skills, but current employees who are already working in the industry, we hope to provide them the training to improve their skills,” said Umezawa.
This comes at a critical time as Boeing projects that airlines worldwide will need about 635,000 new pilots in the next 20 years.
Hawaii aviation experts estimates Hawaii needs about 100 new general aviation pilots a year just to replace the pilots who reach their mandatory retirement age of 65.
Governor David Ige said it is another important opportunity for our economy and for the people of Hawaii.
“The fact that they want to invest in a business that will give the graduates of the academy the opportunity to get a job, I think is just a terrific enhancement to the education,” said Governor Ige.
Lassner said they are still working out logistics and exploring all avenues.
He said one option they are looking at is the University of Hawaii at Hilo where they have a specialized Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program.