American Airlines Suspends Pilot Training For New Recruits

According to a Bloomberg report, American Airlines, based in Dallas/Fort Worth, won’t train any new pilots for the rest of 2024. Training classes for new pilots starting in September, October, and November have been scrubbed. Pilots who received conditional job offers will now have to wait until next year to start training. This doesn’t affect current pilots who already work with the airline.

In fact, other major United States airlines are working on similar changes. United Airlines(UA, Chicago O’Hare) and Southwest Airlines(WN, Dallas Love Field), are also cutting their new-pilot training programs this year. 

“We’ve paused new pilot hire class dates for the remainder of the year,” an American Airlines spokesperson said. The company added that timing for pilot training classes in early 2025 would be determined later this year, with updates provided to the affected individuals as soon as possible.

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American Airlines currently has over 15,000 pilots. Not so long ago, it was actively recruiting pilots due to their shortages after the pandemic. Multiple factors, however, hit the operations and bottom line of the airline: increased labor costs due to stronger workforce; inflation based on higher fuel prices; delays in new aircraft deliveries, among others.

The airline flies a fleet that is almost 1,000 strong, including  

  • 133 Airbus A319-100
  • 48 Airbus A320-200
  • 218 Airbus A321-200
  • 70 Airbus A321-200NX
  • 37 Boeing 787-8
  • 22 Boeing 787-9

These planes head to 354 airports across 63 countries. The pause in pilot training reflects changes in the needs of the industry while it readapts to post-pandemic conditions and economic jolts.

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