American to hire 1,500 pilots by 2018

Washington DC
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American Airlines plans to hire roughly 1,500 pilots new by 2018, joining its competitors in hiring or recalling furloughed cockpit crew members.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier will begin accepting applications for positions at both its mainline and wholly-owned American Eagle Airlines regional operations on 1 October, with its first class beginning training later in the fourth quarter, it says.

The announcement marks the first time in more than a decade that American has recruited new pilots.

A combination of American’s fleet renewal programme, international expansion, anticipated pilot retirements and new US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rest and duty rules are driving the hiring, it adds.

“Today marks an important step toward a bright future at the new American," says captain John Hale, vice-president of flight at American, in a statement. "We're providing our current pilots with the strongest career advancement and growth opportunities in more than a decade, while continuing to build a premier airline and world-class employer they can be proud to fly for throughout their careers.”

The carrier plans to hire between 45 and 50 pilots per month through the third quarter of 2014, and based on need after that.

United Airlines recalled the remaining 600 pilots that it had on furlough earlier in September, and Delta Air Lines announced plans in July that it would begin hiring 300 new pilots from this November.

Separately, the Allied Pilots Association (APA) indicated on 27 September that American plans to “significantly downsize” its St. Louis pilots base over the next six months. According to the union, only about 150 pilots and first officers will remain based at the former Trans World Airlines (TWA) hub.