United Airlines (UAL) is to increase growth of its Denver-based Flight Center to cope with potential pilot training work being negotiated with its Star Alliance partners.

The move comes as UAL Services puts the finishing touches to its latest expansion, taking it from 26 to 36 simulator bays.

This year's training numbers are expected to show growth from 9,300 to around 9,500 United pilots and from 2,500 to "close to 4,000" contract pilots, according to Scott Brennan, director of flight training services.

"UAL training is not due to grow by that much more, but pilots are migrating from older types to new. There will therefore be more transition training," he adds.

The Denver simulator centre trains pilots for another 200 customers worldwide, including airlines, cargo operators, government agencies and the military. "Our goal is to pursue larger contracts with other customers," says Brennan, with Star partners forming the focus for some of these efforts.

"Air Canada is coming here and we've done training with SAS. We have also just started conversations with Varig and see that growing," he adds.

Source: Flight International