ATLANTA, Georgia: Amid news that several U.S. carriers are hiring more pilots and staff in response to increasing travel demand, Delta Air Lines, in a company memo this week, said it plans to hire over 1,000 pilots by next summer.
Delta expects the volume of U.S. leisure travel to return to pre-pandemic levels this month, and is seeing more business travelers return to the skies, Chief of Operations John Laughter wrote to employees.
After heavy losses in 2020, Delta said it expects to generate a pre-tax profit in the second half of 2021, following the re-opening of corporate America by early September.
“The fact that we expect to record a profit in June – just 15 months after the sharpest decline in aviation history – is remarkable,” Laughter said in his note.
Although he was cautious about the timing for building back Delta’s international network, he noted “welcome openings in markets like Spain, France, Italy, and Greece.”
The Atlanta-based carrier anticipates travel restrictions easing across the Atlantic in the second half of 2021, Laughter added.
On Sunday, the U.S. screened 2.1 million air travelers — the highest number since March 2020 when COVID-19 reduced demand. but still down 23 percent from pre-pandemic levels.
On Monday, American Airlines said it intends “to resume pilot hiring this fall with approximately 300 new pilots joining us by the end of the year and double that number in 2022.”
Although Southwest Airlines still has some 500 pilots on voluntary leave, the airline said Monday it “anticipates hiring first officers” later this year “to support the airline’s 2022 operations and scheduled aircraft deliveries.”
Chicago-based United Airlines aims to start hiring some 300 new pilots in the coming weeks, but hiring beyond that would depend “to some degree on the speed at which we recover from the pandemic,” a spokesman said.
United hopes to hire some 10,000 pilots by 2030, company spokesman Charles Hobart added.
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