American Airlines looking to add 1,350 pilots by next year

American Airlines looking to add 1,350 pilots by next year
© Greg Nash

American Airlines plans to hire 1,350 pilots by the end of next year to meet rapidly rising demand for air travel. 

The airline wants to hire 450 more pilots than planned, American’s vice president of flight Chip Long wrote in a memo to employees Wednesday. 

“Though we were limited in pilot growth this past year, we are now moving full speed ahead with plans to continue recruiting, hiring and training the best and most diverse pilots in the business,” he wrote. 


American Airlines is ramping up its hiring after struggling with an onslaught of delays and cancellations in June and July. Experts said the company based in Fort Worth, Texas, did not have enough active pilots to keep up with a recent surge in passengers.  

Customers spent $6 billion on flights within the U.S. last month, a 17 percent increase from May and just 5 percent lower than June 2019, according to a Thursday analysis from Adobe Digital Insights.

American Airlines posted a $19 million second-quarter profit Thursday, its first profit since the pandemic began. While the airline would have lost $1.1 billion if not for government relief, its revenue jumped by 87 percent from the first quarter of 2021. 

“We have taken a number of steps to solidify our business … and it shows in our second-quarter results,” American’s chairman and CEO Doug Parker said in a statement Thursday. “We have reshaped our network, simplified our fleet and made our cost structure more efficient, all to create an airline that will outperform competitors and deliver for customers.”

Other airlines have also posted slim profits bolstered by $54 billion in federal relief. Southwest Airlines reported $348 million in net income Thursday. Delta reported $652 million in second-quarter profits last week.

Airlines say they cannot fully recover until business and international travel returns. The industry is pushing the Biden administration to lift restrictions on international flyers.