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Press Release

Great Lakes Airlines establishes priority hiring agreement for MSU Denver aviation graduates

Contact: Tim Carroll, MSU Denver, Office 303-556-5136, Cell 303-870-7705

Posted: January 7, 2015

(DENVER) — Great Lakes Airlines has partnered with Metropolitan State University of Denver to establish a priority hiring agreement for graduates interested in becoming regional airline pilots, including a guaranteed interview for students who meet specific hiring requirements.

This agreement directly addresses pilot shortages that are expected to have a severe impact on regional airlines, by encouraging highly qualified pilots to consider positions at Great Lakes Airlines, based in Cheyenne, Wyo. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently increased the hiring requirements for first officers who fly for U.S. passenger and cargo airlines from a Commercial certificate to an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate. Consequently, the number of pilots meeting these increased requirements has decreased significantly.

“Great Lakes Airlines has a proud tradition of employing MSU Denver graduates and we are very pleased with the quality of the candidates we see and hire, and the academic curriculum and training they receive,” said Chuck Howell, Great Lakes Airlines CEO. “Partnerships like this will help us create a direct pipeline of well-trained and capable first officer candidates, who in most cases learned to fly in the area and already call the region their home.”

“MSU Denver specializes in training pilots to operate in the types of aircraft and flight environments that Great Lakes pilots typically experience,” said Jeffrey Forrest, Aviation and Aerospace Science department chair. “In addition to working as pilots, our graduates have held management and operations positions within Great Lakes. As the airline grows and their needs continue to change, we will be well-positioned to support them.”

Great Lakes pilots are highly sought-after and go on to fly for nearly every major airline in the United States. As the pilot shortage continues, Great Lakes anticipates continuous hiring to maintain its current employee pool of more than 100 pilots.

The eligibility requirements for the interview include: senior or alumni status, multi-commercial pilot certificate, instrument rating, minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA and minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA in aviation courses, and completion of a specified turboprop flight simulator course. Students and graduates will have the opportunity to interview with Great Lakes on the MSU Denver campus twice per year. The first interview will take place on Jan. 9.



About Great Lakes Airlines

Headquartered in Cheyenne, Wyo. with hub operations at Denver International Airport, Great Lakes Airlines provides scheduled passenger air service with a fleet of Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia’s and Beechcraft 1900D regional airliners. Great Lakes is committed to excellence and safety. The airline strives to maintain the safest and most reliable aircraft in the industry, achieving multiple FAA Diamond Awards for exceptional maintenance training. For a current route map and information, visit


About Metropolitan State University of Denver – Aviation and Aerospace Science Department

MSU Denver has one of the largest undergraduate collegiate aviation programs in the country. In 2011, MSU Denver’s Precision Flight Team was awarded the Loening Trophy, the oldest and most prestigious collegiate aviation award given to the most outstanding all-around collegiate aviation program in the country. The department owns and operates the Robert K. Mock World Indoor Airport, one of the nation’s few dedicated collegiate aviation and aerospace computer and flight simulator training laboratories. Department faculty members bring a wealth of diverse aviation and aerospace career experience that benefits students in the classroom and in developing industry connections. For more information, visit


About Metropolitan State University of Denver

MSU Denver is a leader in educating Coloradans in university programs particularly relevant to the state’s economy and the demands of today’s employers. With the highest number of ethnically diverse students among the state’s four-year colleges, MSU Denver offers 58 majors plus master’s degrees in accounting, teaching and social work. More than 21,000 students are currently enrolled at MSU Denver, and 75 percent of the University’s nearly 77,000 graduates have remained in Colorado as valuable members of the state’s workforce. 

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