United Airlines celebrated the grand opening of its new Inflight Training Center on Tuesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony presided over by the airline’s CEO, Scott Kirby.
The $32 million facility doubles the amount of space that the former center had, featuring more classroom and training spaces, a 400-seat auditorium, a public-address room where employees can practice onboard announcements, more cabin and door trainers, and an aquatic center with a 125,000-gallon (473,176-liter) pool to be used for practicing evacuations in the event of water landings.
The 56,000-square-foot (5,203-square-meter) training facility is located in Houston and will support United’s plans to hire 15,000 new employees in the current year, including 4,000 flight attendants.
“The best flight attendants in the industry deserve the best, most modern training facility in the country,” Kirby said.
New flight attendants will attend a six-and-a-half week training program at the center and all current flight attendants return regularly for Federal Aviation Administration-mandated recurrent training that ensures “that each crewmember is adequately trained and currently proficient with respect to each type of aircraft and each crewmember position,” the FAA says on its website.
Ribbon-cutting ceremonies rose in popularity in the late 19th century after a ribbon cutting was performed at the opening of a Louisiana railroad line. In some respects, they are akin to ship christenings, which involves smashing a bottle – often of Champagne – against the bow of a ship. Similar to a married couple slicing their wedding cake or even removing a ribbon from a nicely wrapped present, the act of cutting a ribbon into two pieces symbolizes the idea of new beginnings and the promise of an exciting future.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)