Delta Airlines has planned to bring back 400 pilots to active flying status this summer signalling optimism for air travel.
In a note, Delta’s senior vice president John Laughter of flight operations stated that the airline saw an opportunity to build back additional pilot staffing in advance of summer 2022 by bringing 400 affected pilots back to active flying status by this summer.
However, this process can take months as new training is necessary due to the retirement of some aircraft types and reduced flying amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re excited to be able to offer 400 full-time pilot positions now, but it’s important to remember that the recovery road ahead of us will be long and choppy,” said Laughter in the memo sent to pilots last week.
“However, we’re cautiously optimistic that demand will increase as vaccinations roll out across the world, and we look forward to restoring all affected pilots to full flying status as the recovery continues.”
Delta had put 1,713 pilots on reduced pay, with no flying requirement after the airline warned that hundreds of pilots would be furloughed if a cost-cutting plan wasn’t in place.
In a statement, the Air Line Pilots Association said it was encouraged by Delta’s decision saying:
“As career-long stakeholders, pilots want to see Delta back where it was before the virus exploded, at the top of the industry.”