Delta Air Lines to hire 1,000 pilots to prevent flight crew shortage

Karolis Kavolelis /

Noticing an increase in the air travel demand, Delta Air Lines is strengthening its operational team. The American air carrier informed its current staff about the future plans of hiring more than 1,000 flight crew members.

The optimistic news came out on June 21, 2021. Delta Air Lines plans to expand the existing flight crew members’ team by adding more than 1,000 pilots by the summer of 2022 in order to avoid staffing issues when the demand recovers, as the company already faced a similar problem twice on Easter and Thanksgiving weekends in 2021.

“This is exciting news both for the pilots looking to join Delta and those of you already on the seniority list because it means career progression opportunities as we continue our recovery, account for scheduled pilot retirements and position for network expansion,” John Laughter, the head of operations, wrote in a letter to the staff, seen by the local media.

The last time when staff shortage prevented the airline from responding to an increased travel demand happened on the Easter weekend. The air carrier canceled around 100 flights in and out of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson (ATL), Detroit Metropolitan (DTW), and Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) airports between April 4-5, 2021, due to a staff shortage. At the time, Delta Air Lines explained that it was unable to call part of its flight crew on duty because of the aircrew vaccination process guidance, issued by the Federal Aviation Administration in February 2021.

Another time when Delta Air Lines had to cancel operations due to staff shortage was the Thanksgiving weekend in November 2021. The airline made massive cancelations of up to 600 flights. Back then, the company stated that the reason was a significant growth of the COVID-19 infection cases among its employees.

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Gabriele Petrauskaite
Journalist[br][br]Gabriele is an experienced journalist and content creator in AeroTime’s editorial team, based in Vilnius, Lithuania.[br]
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