US airlines resume pilot hiring on positive Covid-19 prospects

Photo: AP

American air transport companies have confirmed they went back to hiring back pilots as vaccination rollout is seen easing Covid-19 pandemic, Reuters reported.  American Airlines’ wholly owned regional subsidiary PSA Airlines and budget carrier Frontier Airlines both revealed plans to resume pilot hiring. This is seen as a positive sign for the whole industry.

As Covid-19 vaccines roll out, airlines are hoping for a significant improvement in domestic air travel by the summer, even if demand does not fully yet recoup pre-pandemic levels.

“As we continue to work with American Airlines to identify our flying needs this year, and in combination with recent attrition numbers for our Pilot group, we will be initiating hiring efforts for First Officer team members,” Keith Stamper, vice president of PSA’s air operations, said in a memo reviewed by Reuters.

Ultra low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines, which is owned by private equity firm Indigo Partners, intends to restart recruiting in July, with a plan to hire about 100 pilots this year provided passenger demand recovers. For years, airlines were aggressively recruiting to address projected pilot shortages during an era of industry growth, but hiring and training programs were halted last year as the pandemic forced thousands of furloughs. PSA, which operates domestic routes for American, laid off 723 pilots and 323 flight attendants last October when an initial Covid-19 relief plan for US airlines expired. Employees were recalled last month following a fresh $15 billion in government aid for the struggling industry.

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