Southwest Airlines and American Airlines mitigated a plan to add flights to meet high demand of passengers traveling to Disney World in Orlando Florida. Travelers are seen boarding flight on July 4
The U.S. airline industry is facing a shortage of manpower to serve high travel demands of the masses. United Airlines inc. said they developed a mitigation plan to avoid such problem. The airline is flying a restrained schedule with fewer flights than its competitors as the company struck a deal to keep all its pilots flying last year that included accepting cuts in work hours and therefore pay.
Chief Operating Officer Jon Roitman wrote in a memo to employees in June “The agreement means we have the deep reservoir of pilot talent at United that we can tap to fly our schedule,” it read.
Kit Darby consults on pilot hiring and training said, It’s really a steep return. They probably got rid of too many pilots, and they may have parked too many airplanes.”
With that being said, it is uncertain whether travel demand will maintain its rapid pace this fall but the airlines have turned their attention to filling jobs they will need beyond the summer season.
Southwest is raising its minimum wages for hourly workers to $15 [per hour] in order to attract candidates. Prior to the pandemic, the airlines were suffering a shortage of trained workers, and executives of airlines such as Consultancy Oliver Wyman has predicted that a global shortfall of pilots could arrive as soon at the end of this year, if the recovery is strong enough.
Other major carriers such as American United and Delta Air Lines Inc. have all said they are starting to hire pilots or will soon as they look to replace those who are retiring and anticipate growth. In addition, staffing at Delta’s customer-service all centers fell by 50% as workers took buyouts or retired early last year. Due to new development in travel demand, call volumes are springing back to the 2019 levels, leading to long-hours waits. Delta is bringing back 200 former workers on a short-term basis by the end of the month. It also is hiring additional 1,300 reservation agents by fall. Additional staff will include luggage handlers, refuel planes workers and catering truck drivers—a drawn-out process for Delta as well as other airlines and companies that operate in airports. However, this process is taking longer than usual for new and returning employees to get the credential they need.
For now, pilots aren’t the only constraint. Staffing at Delta’s customer-service call centers fell by 50% as workers took buyouts or retired early last year, the airline said. Now, call volumes are nearly back to 2019 levels, leading to hours-long waits. Delta is bringing back 200 former workers on a short-term basis by the end of this month in addition to hiring 1,300 new reservation agents by fall.
Hiring workers who load luggage, refuel planes and drive catering trucks has also been a drawn-out process. Airlines and other companies that operate in airports have said it is taking longer than usual for new and returning employees to get the credentials they need.
American airlines’ chief operating officer wrote in his memo that the airlines has been hiring 300 customer-operations employees at its Dallas-Fort Worth hub.
American’s chief operating officer, in his memo, said the airline has been hiring, including 300 customer-operations employees at its Dallas-Fort Worth hub.