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American Airlines plans to hire more than 1,300 new pilots by the end of 2022 as the airline sees an increased demand for travel following the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Captain Chip Long, American’s vice president of flight operations, sent out a letter to employees announcing the hiring drive as the company remains bullish that demand for travel will continue to grow as the country continues a return to normalcy.
"Beyond our more immediate recovery efforts, our attention is also on our long-term future, building American to thrive forever and our pilots are key to that," Long said in the letter.
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The company originally planned to hire on 300 pilots by the end of 2021 and an additional 600 throughout 2022, it said. Those numbers have increased now to 350 by the end of 2021 and 1,000 over the course of 2022.
"New hire classes will resume in September and will include flow form Envoy, Piedmont and PSA, as well as pilots who were hired at the onset of the pandemic," Long added. Some pilots were "idled" as hiring efforts froze during the peak of the pandemic.
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Long called on all pilots to help the new recruits as the ranks swell over the next 18 months.
"Nobody knows better what it takes to be an American Airlines pilot than the best aviators in the world," he said.
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The heavily battered leisure travel industry has improved since January due to an increasing number of Americans getting vaccinated and gaining confidence in travel once again. However, it is still far below pre-pandemic levels due to a lack of business travelers, which is "the industry’s largest source of revenue," according to AHLA.
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