Delta plans to carry again 400 pilots, signaling optimism about future air journey

Pilots speak after exiting a Delta Airlines flight at Ronald Reagan National Airport July 22, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia.

Michael A. McCoy | Getty Images

Delta Air Lines plans to bring hundreds of its pilots back by the summer as the airline positions itself for a rebound in travel demand.

Delta pilots avoided vacation last year after the union agreed in the fall to cut pay and not meet flight requirements for around 1,700 junior pilots. According to a company note, Delta will now offer active status to around 400 of them. This requires additional flight training to fly certain aircraft.

The pilots are already receiving a regular salary of less than $ 15 billion in additional government aid, which Congress approved late last year as part of the latest coronavirus relief package.

“When we looked for ways to better position ourselves to support the planned recovery, we saw an opportunity to rebuild additional staff for pilots before summer 2022 by returning 400 affected pilots to active flight status by summer” wrote John Laughter. Senior Vice President of Air Operations, in a Jan. 21 employee communication seen by CNBC. “This is way ahead of the original estimate that we can restore pilots to full flight status and will be possible from March and April due to PSP help and the available training capacity.”

Delta didn’t immediately comment.

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