El Al Airlines has gone into the business of training pilots for the commercial-air-travel industry, for which it is opening a school in Florida, Globes reported on Monday.
The decision comes amid an acute shortage of qualified pilots worldwide, which is expected to grow worse in the coming years, unless the pool of available pilots is rapidly expanded.
Assessments are that the number of passengers will double from four billion at present to 7.8 billion in 2036. The corresponding shortage of pilots is put at 225,000 worldwide in the next decade.
El Al’s partner in the new venture is the pilot training institution Aviator, which is based in Florida.
Graduates of the pilot course are not guaranteed job placement with El Al; but given the shortage, they have reason to be optimistic about finding work with other carriers in Israel and elsewhere.
The course is designed for Israeli citizens, at least 21 years old with matriculation certificates and no previous flying experience.
The school is scheduled to open with 26 cadets in December 2018.
The cost of training for a career as a pilot is not cheap: Tuition will be $65,000.
Prices for such a course in Florida run in the $50,000-90,000 range. And that doesn’t take into account $5,000 for fees for the U.S. authorities, and an estimated $25,000 in living expenses during the training period.