United Airlines restarts pilot hiring as ticket sales rebound.
United Airlines has said it will start hiring pilots again, the latest sign that the travel industry is recovering from the pandemic.
In a memo to pilots on Thursday, Brian Quigley, chief operating officer, said United would begin hiring about 300 pilots who either had a job offer last year or whose start dates had been canceled due to the pandemic.
“With vaccination rates rising and travel demand rising, I’m excited to share that United will continue the pilot recruitment process,” Quigley said.
As of September, nearly 1,000 United pilots have retired or taken voluntary leave, he said, adding that the number of pilots the airline needs depends on how quickly demand recovers.
The news comes amid growing indications that air travel is recovering in a meaningful and resilient way. For several weeks, more than a million people have been checked daily at airport checkpoints, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
“We can see this light at the end of the tunnel,” said Scott Kirby, chief executive of United, at a virtual aviation summit on Wednesday. “Domestic demand for leisure has almost completely recovered. It tells you something about the desire to travel, the delicious desire to rebuild those connections with people. “
On Wednesday, Delta Air Lines said it would start selling medium-sized seats for the first time in a year, citing extensive vaccinations. Denver-based Frontier Airlines began trading on the Nasdaq on Thursday, making it the last of the nation’s 10 largest airlines to go public.
“The time is now,” said Barry Biffle, president and CEO of Frontier. “The vaccine unlocks demand and you see it everywhere. You see it in restaurants, you see it in hotels. “