Spirit Airlines announced yesterday that it would partner with Liberty University on the Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway, a program that promises aviation students conditional offers of employment, mentorship, and an Electronic Flight Bag.
My main takeaway from the announcement: if airlines are relying on Liberty University for pilots, the shortage must be really serious.
Liberty University is a joke
Far be it from me to slander someone’s alma mater, but Liberty University is, to put it more politely than Bill Maher did, not a good school. Here are some important bullet points that should get you up to speed:
- Liberty was founded in 1971 as a private, evangelical Christian University by Jerry Falwell Sr., an evangelical preacher who claimed 9/11 was “helped” by “the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians.”
- When Jerry Falwell Sr. retired, Liberty was taken over by his son, Jerry Falwell Jr. Not to be outdone by his father, Falwell Jr. espoused Covid conspiracy theories, defended the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, and funneled university funds to his family and friends. This deeply devout man finally resigned after revelations that his wife had sex with the couple’s 20-year-old pool boy while he watched.
- The University has a 29% graduation rate. In U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of 440 national universities, Liberty was ranked #331-440.
In some ways, Spirit and Liberty are natural bedfellows, both having built brands that are loved by a few and despised by many, both theoretically getting you to your destination, albeit uncomfortably and unreliably. I wish Spirit and Liberty all the best in their partnership–and really hope this pilot shortage ends soon.