In 2018, six applicants were welcomed into Delta’s Propel Company Path for the first time. Five years later, 61 applicants came together to be indoctrinated into the program, conditional offers in hand and all their eyes on the same prize: to become a Delta pilot.
The company path is one of four different, clearly defined pathways within the Propel Pilot Career Path program – alongside community, collegiate and the new flight academy path – designed to identify, select and develop the next generation of pilots.
With the Propel Company Path, Delta employees from across the organization have equal opportunities to develop their career. From customer service and marketing to revenue management, in-flight services and more, this year’s 61 incoming program participants will help with Delta’s goal of sustaining a steady pipeline of talented pilots for years to come.
“This is our largest-ever Propel Company Path class, and this industry-leading program will give these employees a structured pathway to a Delta flight deck,” said Eric Hendrick, Director of Pilot Outreach at Delta. “Like all of our Propel programs, the company path is a great way to bring more diversity to our pilot population, and, most importantly, it gives Delta people the support they might need to follow their dreams of becoming a pilot.”
INVESTING IN OUR PEOPLE
As part of Delta’s ongoing effort to remove barriers to career development, the airline has begun accepting a wider pool of applicants and offering financial support to those who need it. This includes providing health insurance at the same rate as active employees for each participant’s family, as well as fronting up to $20,000 for those eligible to help cover program costs. Delta will also cover the cost of interest on student loans from the Delta Community Credit Union for a set period of time.
Additionally, Delta provides support to program participants through a robust mentorship program, pairing each student with an established Delta pilot who will be at the ready to answer questions and guide each mentee through their journey.
Haley Thain, one of the incoming company path students, dreamed of being a pilot since she was young, securing her private pilot certificate when she was just 18. She always aspired to work at Delta, so she accepted a full-time role in marketing in 2022 after completing an internship.
“Propel is so important because whenever I go through hardship during my training, I'll have so many resources to lean on that take some of the uncertainty out of the process of becoming an airline pilot,” said Thain. “Propel is not only saying, ‘Hey, you are going to be a Delta pilot as long as you put in the work,’ but they’re also supporting us with a wonderful team of people who are extremely knowledgeable and helpful.”
AN ACCELERATED PATHWAY
For past, present and future Propel Company Path participants, the program lays out customized career paths and defined pathways and timelines to Delta for each student.
Each of the 61 students who were indoctrinated into the program on Nov. 8 will now have approximately 42 months to receive their pilot certificates and ratings and work as a flight instructor at their flight school of choice. One of these options includes Delta’s newly opened Propel Flight Academy in Vero Beach, Florida, created in partnership with Skyborne Aviation.
From there, students will work at a Delta Connection Carrier until they reach a preferred 1,000 turbine hours, then they will return to Delta mainline.
Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Andres Martinez began his journey at Delta as a summer ramp agent before moving to other roles in Sales, Airport Customer Service, Operations Analysis & Performance, Reservations and Revenue Management. After eight years of working across the organization, he finally took the big leap and applied to the Propel Program.
“My passion for aviation, which started back in high school and never really went away, led me to take a bold step and apply for Delta’s Propel Company Path,” said Martinez. “Securing admission into this program is a huge blessing, allowing me to advance my flight education while contributing meaningfully to the legacy of Delta.”