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Ivey announces that the LIFT Academy Flight Training Program will locate at Tuskegee's Moton Field

On Wednesday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) announced that Republic Airways Holdings and its Leadership in Flight Training (LIFT) Academy plans to develop an advanced flight training program in Tuskegee. The program will prepare the next generation of aspiring pilots for high-paying career opportunities in the airline industry.

"Alabama has a long history of providing critical flight training for military aviators, and historic Moton Field is the perfect location for a training center for a new generation of commercial pilots," said Governor Ivey in a statement. "The LIFT Academy is an ideal way to build on the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen by creating solid career opportunities for tomorrow's pilots."

LIFT is teaming with Tuskegee University and the City of Tuskegee to base the training center at the historically renowned Moton Field. There the U.S. Army Air Corps provided flight training to the Tuskegee Airmen becoming the first African American military aviators during World War II.

Matt Koscal is the Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Republic Airways Holdings Inc.

"We are excited to grow our aviation community in Alabama. This expansion is possible due to Governor Ivey's strong leadership in workforce development, which is bringing significant opportunities for aviation education and training and creating new jobs throughout the state," said Matt Koscal, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Republic Airways Holdings Inc. "By joining forces with Tuskegee University and its esteemed heritage, we are honored to enable opportunity and shape the next generation of commercial pilots."

Students in the LIFT program will train on the academy's signature fleet of Diamond DA40-NG single-engine and Diamond DA42-VI twin-engine aircraft. They will also train with technologically advanced flight simulators.

Governor Ivey made the flight training center announcement at a ceremony at Moton Field Municipal Airport, where she was joined by officials from LIFT Academy and Republic Airways Holdings, representatives from Tuskegee University and state and local leaders.

The LIFT project will create 35 full-time aviation-related jobs in Tuskegee over a three-year period, with an average annual salary of nearly $75,000, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce. In addition, 57 certified flight instructors will be involved in the program at Moton Field.

The project calls for a capital investment of $27 million for aircraft.

Economic Developer Dr. Nicole Jones Wadsworth told the Alabama Gazette, "Alabama is a longstanding leader in the aerospace and aviation industry. To continue that momentum and retain a level of expertise in any field, it is important for leaders to foster a culture that emphasizes professional development and training of current as well as future generations. The partnership between Republic Airways Holdings and Tuskegee University to bring LIFT to Macon County will help train future commercial airline pilots in the historic Moton Field, a tribute to our nation's heroes, the Tuskegee Airmen."

The partnership between LIFT and Tuskegee University is designed to encourage, recruit and educate future African American pilots with first-rate in-classroom and in-flight instruction.

Students in the program will earn two valuable certifications - a bachelor's degree in aviation science from Tuskegee University and a commercial multi-engine pilot license through LIFT Academy.

The program, which is open to all students, commences this fall.

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