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  • Over 200 Propel pilots attended the immersive convention receiving a course on Delta culture
  • Delta expects to hire more than 8,000 pilots over the next 10 years

Nearly 10 months after announcing the Delta Propel Pilot Career Path Program, the airline welcomed the first class of Propel pilots to Delta's headquarters for its first annual Propel Convention. 

The convention, which brought together more than 200 Propel pilots, served as a way to immerse and educate the trainees in the Delta culture. The future Delta pilots spent the day learning about Delta's history through leaders, meeting their fellow program participants, taking tours of the Delta Flight Museum and operating one of the training simulators.

During the event, participants had the opportunity to hear from Captain Jim Graham, Senior Vice President — Flight Operations; Graeme Burnett, Senior Vice President — Fuel Optimization; and Murphy Grisham, General Manager — Domestic Network Planning discuss the leadership and drive of Delta pilots.

"Propel does something different from what the entire industry has seen before. Propel is about getting the brightest and best to Delta," Graham said. "From this point forward, you are a part of the Delta family. This program is going to take Delta to the next level."

The unique event also united all of the people who had a hand in successfully launching the Propel Program. This included College Path and Company Path Propel pilots, Delta Propel liaisons and mentors, Flight Operations leadership and representatives, Delta Connection carriers and members of Delta's Business Resource Groups.

"You're about to travel across the world to serve our customers," said Brent Knoblauch, Boeing 717 First Officer and Propel pilot outreach manager. "As you start this journey, take a look around and capture this moment. Know that you are the future of where this company is going."

Delta launched the Propel Pilot Program to identify, select and develop the next generation of pilots. With three main areas of focus — college, company and community — the program complements the traditional, existing paths to becoming a Delta pilot.

Regardless of the path, any pilot participating in the program will meet all of the qualification requirements and testing aspects of Delta's current pilot hiring model, which will be metered over the course of their development.

During the next decade, Delta expects to hire more than 8,000 pilots to staff the thousands of daily flights it operates around the world as other pilots approach mandatory retirement age. The Propel program will supplement the airline's current recruiting structure, which includes recruiting and hiring pilots currently flying in the airline, military and corporate sectors. ​

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