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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Delta Airlines pilot shortage prompts regional service cuts

by Mary Schlangenstein , bloomberg

Delta Air Lines has cut regional flight operations by up to 25% for the first half of this year due to pilot shortages, a lingering effect for many carriers since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

When airlines moved in early 2020 to replace thousands of pilots seeking incentives to retire, carriers first turned to their traditional hiring pool of regional partners. Epidemic disruptions to training at those smaller airlines contributed to the shortage by preventing first officers from being promoted to captain.

Delta expects to add 100 to 200 pilots a month over the next year, Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian said Thursday on an earnings call. The company has no shortage of pilots or applicants in its mainline operations, he added.

The airline is “quite confident” that by the second half of this year, it will be able to restore services to communities that were cut short in the first half, President Glenn Hounstein said on the call.

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