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United Prepares for COVID-19 Recovery Hiring Spree

With more Americans getting vaccinated against COVID-19 – and subsequently booking more travel – United Airlines wants to get ahead of their hiring needs. The airline told employees they will hire 300 more pilots this summer in preparation of a travel rebound.

United Airlines is anticipating a much busier travel season, and wants to start hiring pilots to get ahead of demand. Reuters reports the Chicago-based carrier will hire 300 pilots in hopes of a Summer 2021 travel rebound.

New Pilots to Partially Replace Nearly 1,000 Who Retired or Took Exit Package

In the memo sent to employees and viewed by Reuters, leaders for the airline said they would start hiring pilots who either had a 2020 conditional job offer which was cancelled after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, or pilots with a new hire class date. Ultimately, the airline acknowledged that “the number of new pilots needed will be dependent on our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The new group of aviators will ultimately replace nearly 1,000 pilots who either retired from the airline or accepted a voluntary leave package. This number doesn’t include the group that were affected by the layoffs when money from the CARES Act ended in October 2020.

United’s move comes as airlines are putting more of their focus on leisure travel, as they anticipate a faster recovery of “visiting friends and relatives” flying as opposed to business travel. In August 2020, the carrier announced a major expansion into Florida, offering more flights from the Northeast and Midwest to the Sunshine State.

Airlines and Wall Street Get Bullish on Airline Recovery

As more Americans are getting vaccinated against COVID-19, both airlines and investors are getting ready for better financial results. American Airlines noted in an SEC filing that their bookings are starting to recover to 2019 numbers, while Wall Street analysts are now starting to back aviation-industry stocks again.

aresef April 15, 2021

And scsubasteve78, DL and other airlines can't simply move a hub from one airport to another in another state. They have leases, they have maintenance facilities, they have partner airlines, they have employees with roots in these places. And where would they go? UA, for example, accounts for more than half of the flights out of IAD. Let's say the lease weren't a factor. They couldn't up and move to, say, BWI. The space just isn't there in Baltimore and partner airlines like NH, LH, TK would be without their domestic connections at Dulles.

aresef April 15, 2021

It seems, though, like a tacit admission that this is still going to be a lean year, even if not as bad as 2020.

scsubasteve78 April 2, 2021

We have to thank Trump here. Because before him it was hard to imagine a bigger bunch of petulant children than government officials like this. However after trump this is fairly easy. He has really opened my mind to exactly how big the gap is between adults and man-children. Delta should issue an open call to other states with Delta hubs for offers to relocate major operations and see what kind of offers they get, if for nothing else then just a "symbolic" gesture.