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Gannon University Launches Aviation & Business Management Program in Partnership with Fundamentals Flight Training

Published: 02/08/2024

As job demand within the aviation industry continues to soar, Gannon recognizes the critical need for skilled professionals.

As job demand within the aviation industry continues to soar, Gannon recognizes the critical need for skilled professionals.

Gannon University proudly announced the launch of a new Aviation & Business Management degree program in a press conference today. In an exciting partnership with Fundamentals Flight Training at the Erie International Airport, this program promises to prepare students for dynamic, in-demand careers in the $150 billion aviation industry that employs more than 1.2 million people in the United States. The program is slated to take flight in Fall 2024.

As job demand within the aviation industry continues to soar, Gannon recognizes the critical need for skilled professionals. With a projected 4% growth in employment for the industry according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and an anticipated 16,800 openings each year for airline and commercial pilots through 2032, the demand for qualified aviation experts is growing. Major airlines, including United and American, are bracing for significant pilot retirements within the next 10 years, creating an urgent need for degree-holding pilots.

Students enrolled in the program will embark on a journey that meets this industry demand by blending theoretical knowledge with practical experience. In partnership with Fundamentals Flight Training, Gannon will offer both associate and bachelor’s degree options that will have students take to the sky within their first semester while pursuing rewarding careers in various roles of the aviation industry, including air travel, airport operations and airline management. Business management instruction is delivered by Gannon’s Dahlkemper School of Business, and Fundamentals Flight Training at Erie International Airport, just minutes from campus, provides hands-on ground and flight training.

Through a comprehensive curriculum, students can earn three Federal Aviation Administration licenses – Private Pilot, Instrument Rating and Commercial Pilot – in just two years. The program also offers the opportunity to become an FAA Certified Flight Instructor while pursuing a bachelor’s degree concurrently, within four years. A unique co-op option provides students the ability to replace course credits with placement at Fundamentals Flight Training to gain relevant work experience and training (within the BS degree program).

“At Gannon University, we're committed to nurturing the next generation of aviation professionals,” said Sarah Ewing, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Student Experience. “Our program will equip students with the aeronautics knowledge and business acumen needed for success in a wide variety of roles. By mastering aviation principles, embracing modern technologies and honing effective communication skills, our graduates will be poised to make a lasting impact in the aviation industry and beyond.”

“This program not only addresses the growing demand for skilled professionals but also makes a tangible impact on the economy. Gannon is fostering innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth both locally and nationally by producing well-trained graduates equipped to meet the needs of the aviation industry. The program's emphasis on practical training and industry-relevant skills ensures that graduates are ready to contribute meaningfully to the workforce from day one.”

Fundamentals Flight Training provides the Erie region with safe, affordable FAA-approved Part 141 and Part 61 flight training using seven training airplanes, including Northwest Pennsylvania’s only multi-engine training aircraft. It is recognized as a “Distinguished Flight School in the Great Lakes Region” by The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, providing students an unparalleled training experience. With state-of-the-art simulations and real-flight experiences, students will navigate diverse weather conditions along Erie's northern waterfront, gaining invaluable skills and expertise on their journey to earn their flight certifications.

“Fundamentals Flight Training is proud to partner with Gannon University to provide this new program for its students and the community,” said David Benson, Owner of Fundamentals Flight Training. “This partnership together recognizes and acts on the need for well-trained and educated professionals in the aviation industry, and we are pleased to share our experience and flight-training resources to help make that possible.”

For more information about the Aviation & Business Management program at Gannon and partnership with Fundamentals Flight Training, visit

All media inquiries can be made by contacting Haley Figurski, Media Relations and Marketing Manager, at 814-823-1886.