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Pilot Shortage Boosts Enrollment at Prescott's Embry-Riddle University

Enrollment is booming at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott and other flight schools as pilots at major airlines are hitting retirement age.

Embry-Riddle's assistant dean Kenneth Byrnes tells The Daytona Beach News-Journal "there's jobs like there hasn't been in a long, long time."

When classes begin August 26, the school's residential campuses in Prescott and Daytona Beach, Florida, are expecting a 20% increase in enrollment over 2018, when there were nearly 2,000 aeronautical science students.

The Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne has seen "steady growth" in its flight school over the past three years. Associate Dean Isaac Silver said a pilot shortage is driving enrollment. Silver said pilots at regional airlines are replacing retiring pilots. That means regional carriers are looking for "qualified first officers."