Wed, 12 May 2021

DALLAS, Texas: Southwest Airlines has recalled more than 200 pilots from voluntary extended leave.

The airline said 209 of its pilots will return to active status on June 1 to support its summer schedule. The pilots will, however, be required to complete requalification training before resuming duties.

After travel slumped in the wake of the pandemic, Southwest implemented a voluntary leave program, allowing employees the option of taking long-term time off.

Recent data has shown that air travel in the United States has begun to pick up. On March 12, the Transportation Security Administration reported it screened 1.357 million US air travelers, the highest number since March 15, 2020.

Expectations of a recovery in domestic travel this summer have also prompted two other major US carriers, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines, to recall pilots.

Last week, United Airlines, which had entered into a deal with its union to keep pilots' status active amid the travel slump, unveiled plans to hire about 300 pilots to prepare for a rebound in travel.

Several low-cost carriers have also decided to bring pilots back and are hiring again.

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