United Airlines tells staff it’s hiring hundreds of pilots next month as carrier plans for a travel recovery

A United Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 plane lands at San Francisco International Airport.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

United Airlines on Thursday advised staff it’ll quickly start hiring hundreds of pilots — a course of the airline was pressured to halt when coronavirus pandemic devastated travel demand final 12 months, in accordance with an inner e mail reviewed by CNBC.

The Chicago-based airline is the primary of the big U.S. carriers to announce it’ll resume pilot hiring, the newest signal it’s making ready for a recovery.

For the previous 12 months, airways, together with United, have urged 1000’s of staff to take buyouts, early retirement packages and leaves of absence as they raced to chop prices through the pandemic.

U.S. airways collectively misplaced $35 billion final 12 months however anticipate a regular rise in bookings as extra of the general public is vaccinated and feels extra comfy getting on planes.

“With vaccination rates increasing and travel demand trending upwards, I’m excited to share that United will resume the pilot hiring process that was halted last year,” Bryan Quigley, United’s senior vice chairman of flight operations, wrote in a staff notice on Thursday, which was considered by CNBC. “We’ll start with the approximately 300 pilots who either had a new hire class date that was canceled, or who had a 2020 conditional job offer.”

Air travel demand has just lately perked up. The Transportation Security Administration screened a mean of about 1.2 million individuals per day final month, up 15% from a 12 months in the past when the pandemic and stay-at-home orders halted nearly all travel.

Last month’s volumes are nonetheless lower than half of March 2019 ranges with enterprise and worldwide travel nonetheless principally stalled, however leisure demand is beginning to climb. United CEO Scott Kirby on Wednesday advised an trade convention that home leisure demand has nearly utterly recovered.

Like United, different carriers are beginning to see a want for extra staff, significantly pilots whose coaching is dear and time-consuming.

Spirit Airlines final month stated it resumed hiring pilots and flight attendants whereas different finances carriers Allegiant Air and Sun Country Airlines additionally anticipate to rent this 12 months.

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