SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Sept. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- JetBlue Airways (Nasdaq: JBLU), the largest carrier in Puerto Rico, today announces a new partnership with Inter-American University (IAU) of Puerto Rico, School of Aeronautics. IAU is the latest academic addition to JetBlue's University Gateway Program, a pilot talent pipeline in conjunction with university aviation programs and regional airlines. IAU is the airline's first school partnership in the Caribbean.
JetBlue's University Gateway program is a career-planning and mentoring initiative designed to identify and recruit talented professionals into the pilot ranks. Through rigorous academic training and regional airline experience, the University Gateway program creates a clearly defined career path for aspiring pilots, beginning early in an aviator's college career and culminating with the possibility of a final interview at JetBlue.
"We are the largest carrier in Puerto Rico and will continue to expand into the Caribbean and Latin American markets. Extending our University Gateway program to this region will ensure access to the best network of talent available," said Bonny Simi, vice president, talent at JetBlue Airways.
IAU joins JetBlue's current roster of colleges and universities which includes Auburn University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Jacksonville University and the University of North Dakota. The airline also partners with Massachusetts-based Cape Air as a regional airline partner, giving University Gateway participants valuable flying experience prior to interviewing at JetBlue.
Earlier today, Warren Christie, vice president, operational planning and training at JetBlue Airways, and Manuel J. Fernos, president of Inter-American University of Puerto Rico officially signed the memorandum of understanding. JetBlue crewmembers as well as school administrators were on hand at Luis Munoz Marin International Airportin San Juan, Puerto Rico, to celebrate the announcement. "We are excited to expand the University Gateway program to Latin America. As JetBlue's liaison to Inter-American University, I look forward to providing guidance and opportunities for graduates of the School of Aeronautics by helping aviators on their path to becoming pilots for Cape Air and subsequently JetBlue Airways," Mr. Christie said.
"With the University Gateway program, we have the unique ability to cultivate pilots that will be a great fit for JetBlue. We're able to identify the right candidates early on and interact with them throughout their academic and training career," said Eric Poole, A320 captain and university gateway program project manager for JetBlue Airways.
The University Gateway program is open to students at participating schools 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 continued enrollment in an Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI) program. During the Gateway program, participants intern at Cape Air or other regional airline partners, and then serve as an instructor at their respective flight school. Following that process, candidates fly with Cape Air for at least two years and then receive an interview at JetBlue.
"Today we are proud to announce the first partnership in Puerto Rico between JetBlue, Cape Air and Inter-American University. We are witnessing a great leap in the positioning of our School of Aeronautics to an international level. We are grateful to JetBlue for selecting our university and allowing us to be part of this recognized educational program," said Manuel J. Fernos, president of Inter-American University of Puerto Rico.
Inter-American University is a private institution that serves as a cultural bridge between North and Latin America. For more than 90 years, it has been dedicated to preparing students in all branches of the humanistic, social, and scientific work. IAU's School of Aeronautics recently received full accreditation through AABI becoming the only collegiate aviation program with such distinction in Latin America.
JetBlue encourages students to explore careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professions, including aviation careers, from piloting the aircraft to maintaining the engines. The airline has a unique education pathway including relationships with elementary school students and mentoring high school and college students to the University Gateway program, which leads to positions as Pilot Trainees with JetBlue.
About JetBlue Airways As New York's Hometown Airline™ and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando and San Juan, JetBlue carries 29 million customers a year to 79 cities in the US, Caribbean and Latin America with more than 700 daily flights. With JetBlue, all seats are assigned, all fares are one-way, and an overnight stay is never required. JetBlue's fleet totals 188 aircraft, comprising 129 Airbus A320s and 59 EMBRAER E190s. Upcoming destinations include Savannah, Ga.; Worcester, Mass.; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; and Lima, Peru, subject to receipt of government approval. For more information please visit www.jetblue.com