United Airlines Opens $32M Flight Attendant Training Center Expansion
January 17, 2023
BY RILEY PICKETT, Simple Flying
United Airlines has now opened its newly renovated flight attendant training center in Houston, Texas. The renovations doubled the size of the facility allowing it to train thousands of additional flight attendants each year. The expansion project cost an estimated $32 million. The hefty investment is a part of the airline's commitment to expansion as it looks to hire thousands of additional flight attendants this year. The new facility will enable it to do just that, allowing it to remain sufficiently staffed while it expands its operations.
Throughout the past year, demand for air travel has skyrocketed. Many airlines have capitalized on this demand enabling them to quickly recover from pandemic losses. United, like many other US airlines, plans to use this strong demand to help it expand its route network and flight frequencies. By expanding these areas of operation, it will, in turn, expand its operations as a whole. In order to expand its operations, the airline must first expand its capacity. To do this, it must first expand its staff numbers.
The airline recently announced that it plans to hire 15,000 new employees this year to help support its growth. 4,000 of these employees will be flight attendants. With 4,000 new flight attendants expected to need training this year, the new facility could not have come at a more opportune time. The airline's new training facility is reported to be state-of-the-art and one of the best flight attendant training facilities in the world.
With the additions now complete, the facility measures an estimated 56,000 square feet. These additions include additional classrooms, an extensive 400+ seat lecture hall, and cabin and door trainers to help cadets practice evacuations. This new facility's centerpiece will be a spacious aquatic center featuring a 125,000-gallon pool. This pool has a mock fuselage, allowing cadets to practice evacuating the aircraft following a water landing.
The facility is also equipped to resist the effects of many natural disasters common to the region, such as hurricanes. Underneath the facility, United has installed a prefabricated storm detention vault capable of holding over 268,000 gallons of stormwater through a series of pipes and vaults.
Flight attendant training
Newly hired United flight attendants will attend a six-week training course at this new facility. Upon completion of this course, they will go on to presume their roles within the airline. The airline has stated that it will be able to train 600 flight attendants per month at the new facility. While this exceeds the airline's goal of hiring and training 4,000 recruits this year, it undoubtedly sets the airline up for success in a future of growth where the airline expects to hire more flight attendants year over year.
When flight attendants leave the facility, they will not have to say goodbye to it forever as they will be required to return once every 18 months to undergo continued training to ensure that they stay current on all of their requirements. The CEO of United Airlines, Scott Kirby, stated the following cornering the new facility and its training programs,
"The best flight attendants in the industry deserve the best, most modern training facility in the country,"This expansion project is yet another example of an investment we made during the depths of the pandemic that will support our employees, further improve our ability to deliver great service and set United up for success in 2023 and beyond."