A new pilot recruitment programme being implemented by JetBlue Airways, its codeshare partner Cape Air and major US colleges is producing favorable results and will begin accepting additional candidates shortly.

The so-called Aviation University Gateway programme identifies potential future Cape Air and JetBlue pilots at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the University of North Dakota (UND).

"We are pleased to announce that 41 young pilots from University of North Dakota and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University have now been accepted into the [Gateway] programme - they are progressing exceptionally well," says JetBlue VP of flight operations John Ross.

JetBlue and Cape Air will bring more students into the programme in the next two months.

Under the initiative, which was first announced in January, participants intern at Hyannis, Massachusetts-based Cape Air - which operates Cessna 402 aircraft - and then serve as an instructor at their respective flight school.

Following this process, candidates will fly with Cape Air for at least two years and then be eligible for a final interview at JetBlue, which operates Airbus A320s and Embraer 190s.

Cape Air recently completed the first summer of internships for Gateway participants.

"Some of the pilots flew as first officers, while others worked in a variety of ramp functions. But all of them also spearheaded important projects, such as creation of new quick reference handbooks for the Cessna 402 and business cases for the airline," says Cape Air chief operating officer Dave Bushy.

UND department of aviation's chair, Kent Lovelace, adds: "Our students came back to campus with glowing reports - they felt as if they were part of a culture called Cape Air and had a better understanding of aviation as a business."

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news