Growth Talk with Chief Pilot David Fitzgerald

Corporate Growth and You

David Fitzgerald, Cheif Pilot CommutAir.

My name is David Fitzgerald, Chief Pilot at CommutAir. Two years ago, I joined CommutAir after 18 years at a larger Regional airline.  I came to help shape the future of this United Express carrier after it reached an agreement with United for a 40% ownership stake, a commitment to triple the size of its fleet to up to 61 aircraft in 4 years, and first and fastest United Career Path Program.

Corporate growth landed me at CommutAir, but the most common question asked by current and future pilots is “David, how will CommutAir’s corporate growth benefit me?”

Here’s my answer:

Corporate Growth = Fly more, sit less:  Every new jet that we receive adds about 275 hours of flying – requiring us to hire 11-12 new pilots.  And practically every month, United’s appetite for requisitioning Career Path Program (CPP) pilots continues unabated. Monthly aircraft deliveries, combined with United CPP graduations means YOU move up the seniority list while accumulating hours for the UA-CPP.

So, get used to life on the line. With reserve periods of 5 months or less, the majority of our First Officers average 80+hours a month with 13-15 days off. And if you are looking for additional hours, simply sign up with Crew Scheduling for flying at incentive pay rates.

Corporate Growth increases the need for Captains: Why wear 3 stripes when we give you 4? As soon as you are near the 1,000 Part 121 equivalent hours mark, expect a call from me to sign you up for Captain Upgrade Training. As much as we need First Officers, our demand for Captains is even greater, which is why we guarantee Captain pay after 1 year.

Are you a seasoned Part 121 Pro? If so, keep your phone handy.  Upgrade times are projected to be under 6 months with our next round of awards. By June, our junior-most Captain will be a November 2017 hire! 

Corporate Growth is good for your logbook and your resume: Stand out from the pack when you interview with the network airlines with a well-rounded resume! A tripling fleet requires a capable infrastructure, and we plan to double our Flight Training Department, opening opportunities for line pilots to serve as Ground and Simulator Instructors, as well as Line Check Airmen. And no, you will not lose out on hours by becoming an instructor. Unlike other Regionals, at CommutAir, your instructor hours count towards your CPP requirements. It is your CFI days on steroids!

Finally, Corporate Growth quickly gets you in the RIGHT seat at United: CommutAir’s CPP commitment to United is based on the size of CommutAir’s pilot cadre.  So the faster we grow, the faster you go to United. Punch your ticket to United Airlines soon after you accumulate 1,000 PIC hours. Where is the catch? There is none! Our United CPP is the fastest among competitors, and our growth will allow you to accumulate 1,000 PIC hours in 18 months or less.

Come beat the fastest CommutAir indoc to United indoc of 2 years and 10 days! The “final” call you receive at CommutAir is from United Airlines Pilot Recruiting – with your Class Date!

Every airline, including CommutAir, is offering similar compensation and similar sign-on bonuses.  Every other airline markets “quick upgrades” and their equivalent of the CPP. Every airline is announcing growth plans (e.g., “10 airplanes soon”).  So how do you make sense of the clutter?  CORPORATE GROWTH!   CommutAir is the only Regional with a confirmed triple-digit growth plan (300%). 

And finally – a word about “culture.”

Leaving CommutAir for United within 2 years may be your goal.  However, my job – and part of our mission statement – is to provide for your comfort and maintain our family-like culture both in and out of the flight deck. You will notice it from Day 1 of Ground School, which culminates in an informal social at a local pub hosted by our CEO.  You will notice it if you overnight in Cleveland and walk across to our HQ to mingle with the Dispatchers, Crew Schedulers and the rest of the office staff. And when on the line, I guarantee that you will create lifelong friends no matter where your career takes you.

If you have any questions for me or anyone at CommutAir, contact me at or You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter or visit us on AirlineApps! ACN


Chief Pilot, CommutAir


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