Southwest recalls 209 pilots as travel demand recovers By Reuters

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

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

The pilots will return to active status on June 1 and will then complete all of the necessary requalification training requirements before they fly with passengers.

Among other major U.S. carriers, Delta Air Lines (NYSE:) and American Airlines (NASDAQ:) have also recalled pilots who were sidelined during the pandemic.

United Airlines, which reached a deal with its union to keep pilots active throughout the downturn, said last week it was preparing to hire about 300 pilots as travel demand rebounds.

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

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