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planning on hiring and training 40 to 50 pilots a month starting this winter, and over the next five years add 1500 pilots to their base. They also plan on hiring and training another 1500 flight attendants. This is not due to the planned merger with US Airways, but in response to operational needs, projected retirements, and also the new rules by the Federal Aviation Administration which are requiring increased experience and rest for pilots.
Pilots and their families are welcoming this news, but the main ingredient for creating job security for the pilots is building a network (hiring more pilots) which would allow American to compete with other airlines, such as United, Delta and Southwest, a spokesperson from the Allied Association union which represents American’s pilots told reporters.
Other airlines are joining in hiring pilots as well. United plans to call back nearly 600 pilots, and United Airlines, which has more than 12,000 pilots, plans that no pilots would be on furlough following its recall.
This is welcome news, as American had been streamlining its base, due to the Chapter 11 by laying off and forcing early retirement for many in its organization. They also had frozen pensions, renegotiated plane leases as well. Any upturn in employment for the airlines is a good thing, as the airline business is well known for cutting jobs rather than increasing employment.
Another factor for increasing pilots may be due to the rise in revenue that American has experienced this past year over years past. Excluding reorganization expenses and special items, it was reported that August earnings were USD $165 million, up from USD $56 million as of last year.
Whether this trend will continue, whether the merger will go through, and whether the recent government shutdown will negate the recent gains by American Airlines all remain a mystery. One thing, however is certain: Big changes are in the works for American.