UNITED STATES:- Delta Air Lines (DL) has announced intentions to greatly reduce pilot recruitment in 2024 compared to previous years, suggesting a potential conclusion to the aviation industry’s hiring surge following the pandemic.
The airline plans to onboard just over 1,000 pilots in 2024, approximately half the number hired in 2023. This shift comes as airlines, grappling with ongoing pilot shortages, had previously hired tens of thousands of pilots to meet heightened travel demands stemming from the post-pandemic recovery.
Delta’s 2024 Hiring Projections
In 2022, the aviation sector employed around 13,000 pilots and was poised to maintain a similar hiring pace in 2023, as reported by FAPA.aero, a pilot recruitment advisory service.
Delta’s spokesperson stated The 2024 hiring projections for Delta signify a sustained, robust demand for pilots.
Anticipating a robust yet more standardized growth trajectory in the upcoming year reflects Delta’s complete operational recovery post-pandemic and its ongoing commitment to industry leadership.
Additionally, Delta emphasized that hiring over 1,000 pilots for a major airline remains a substantial figure, highlighting the industry’s atypical hiring patterns since the onset of the pandemic.
The airline acknowledged the impracticality of sustaining such hiring levels indefinitely.
To address a severe pilot shortage, airlines have been aggressively recruiting pilots. The shortage disproportionately affected smaller cities dependent on regional airlines, as major carriers attracted pilots with higher salaries and superior career prospects.
Pilots have secured unprecedented contracts, with some experiencing salary increases of up to 50%. Coupled with substantial pay hikes and intensified recruitment initiatives, it seems the airline industry has moved beyond the peak of the pilot shortage.
“Thanks to escalating salaries, accelerated career paths, and heightened awareness of the pilot demand, there is a noticeable increase in candidates pursuing commercial flight certification,” states an Oliver Wyman report.
While detailed hiring figures for 2024 from other major U.S. airlines are pending, indications suggest a slowdown in hiring. For instance, Spirit Airlines has opted to suspend new pilot and flight attendant training, anticipating slower growth amidst a decline in demand for domestic travel.
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