CHARLOTTE — Piedmont Airlines, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group, will begin training pilots at the American Airlines Training Center in Charlotte to fly its fleet of Embraer 145 regional jets. The expansion comes as Piedmont transitions from turboprops to an all-jet fleet.

“As our jet deliveries accelerate in early 2017, we want to be sure we have pilots ready to fly them,” said Stephen Keefer, Vice President, Flight Operations. “We are investing heavily in training equipment and in our pilots in order to take on the additional flying American is asking us to do.”

Piedmont has added Embraer 145 desktop training stations in Charlotte and purchased a full sized Embraer cabin trainer for pilots and flight attendants. An E145 full motion simulator will be installed in Charlotte in 2017.  Piedmont recently introduced a new pilot pay package that includes nearly $60,000 in pay and bonuses for first year pilots and an additional $20,000 in first officer retention payments.

“The more pilots we hire and train, the more Piedmont will expand,” added Keefer. “And because Piedmont pilots will move to American Airlines after a few years of flying for us, it makes sense to train them on a campus where mainline pilots train. Consolidating all of our training in Charlotte is efficient and lays the groundwork for future expansion.”

Piedmont takes delivery of its twelfth jet in November, and will continue to add jets to the fleet through 2017. Pilots hired by Piedmont move to American Airlines in seniority order under a collective bargaining “flow” agreement. Piedmont currently employs approximately 470 pilots, but will expand that number to more than 600 in 2017.