American Eagle and ExpressJet are the two largest
regional airline systems in the world, with nearly 4,000
daily flights to more than 200 airports throughout the
United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
more airlines that we can develop that relationship with
and sign an agreement with, the better,” said Reichard,
who retired after 15 years with ExpressJet. These
agreements will be even more important as the demand
rises for airline pilots, he added.
“There’s a pilot shortage that is just beginning, and
it’s going to continue to get larger and larger in the
next 10 years,” he said. “The numbers are absolutely
amazing. We’re talking 50 to 60,000 pilots they’re going
The School of Aeronautics, in turn,
anticipates a continued trend of climbing enrollment and
an expansion of its Freedom Aviation flight operations
center at Lynchburg Regional Airport. It is also
exploring expansion opportunities at other airports in
“We haven’t put a cap as far as the number of students
and our program is continuing to grow,” Reichard said.
“It’s tripled in size in the seven years that I’ve been
here, so it’s amazing the growth that has taken place.
Now at some point, we’re going to reach a limit where
this airport can only hold so much traffic. But we
haven’t maxed out the airfield capability yet.”
The Liberty University School of Aeronautics has grown
from four students to more than 700 in the last 10 years
and is currently the largest faith-based university
aviation program in the country. The school offers a
variety of online and residential programs, including a
bachelor’s degree with concentrations in military
aviation, missionary aviation, commercial/corporate
aviation, and unmanned aerial systems (UAS), as well as
flight attendant training.