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American Airlines to hire or recall 2,500 pilots in next five years

The CEO of American Airlines has said the company expects to hire 2,500 pilots over the next five years as it ramps up international flights.

In a letter to employees on 24 October, CEO Thomas Horton said, ‘The new American will be doing even more international flying, providing greater opportunities for career advancement and increased income for our people’. He continued, ‘As part of our plans, we expect to… create approximately 2,500 new and recalled pilot jobs over five years, which we think will lead to about 1,300 Captain upgrades.’

The airline is currently operating under bankruptcy protection and is seeking to increase growth in international travel – the letter was issued the same day that American announced it will start new international routes next year.

Gregg Overman, a spokesman for the pilots’ union, Allied Pilots Association, said, “International routes are high-paying jobs, so that’s welcome. Forecasts of growth are better than forecasts that the airline will shrink, but (Horton’s prediction) would just be making up a bit of that lost ground” since 2001.

Overman said American has 650 pilots on furlough who would be rehired first and 500 to 600 pilots who are expected to hit the mandatory retirement age of 65 by 2020.