Southwest recalls 209 pilots as Reuters travel demand rebounded

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: On an unusually empty Memorial Day weekend during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Los Angeles, a check-in area for Southwest Airlines Co. at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) a social distancing sign displayed

(Reuters) Southwest Airlines has recalled 209 pilots from a voluntary extended vacation program to support its summer flight schedule, the company said Monday as airlines prepare for a recovery in demand as more Americans receive COVID-19 vaccines.

Pilots will return to active status on June 1 and then complete all required requalification training requirements before flying with passengers.

Delta Air Lines (NYSE 🙂 and American Airlines (NASDAQ :), among other major U.S. airlines, have also recalled pilots who were retired during the pandemic.

United Airlines, which had an agreement with its union to keep pilots active during the downturn, said last week it was preparing to hire around 300 pilots as demand for travel rises again.

Low-cost airlines have also called back pilots and are hiring again.

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