U.S. airlines will need to hire at least 7,000 new pilots next year to fill the gaps created by mandatory retirements and pandemic buyouts. American Airlines alone is expecting 585 pilots to hit the required retirement age of 65 next year, and retirements should peak to 908 in 2025.
American Airlines said it plans to hire 1,000 pilots next year after recruiting 350 by the end of 2021. Delta Airlines has plans to hire 1,000 pilots as well. United became the first U.S. carrier to purchase its own flight training school and expects to graduate 5,000 pilots from its Aviate Academy by the end of the decade. United, Delta, and American developed training partnerships with England-based Skyborne Aviation who recently opened its first U.S. operation after acquiring the former Flight Safety Aviation Academy in Vero Beach, FL. Regional airlines have pushed up pay to help cover the cost of training. Starting pilots at regional airlines owned by American now make more than $50 an hour, three times as much as they did a decade ago