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Delta Throttles Back on Pilot Hiring

2024 to Onboard ~1,000 New Pilots in 50% cut

Delta said it will hire fewer pilots in 2024 than it did in 2023, rolling back to about half of what it onboarded last year.

The change might sound spooky to those eyeing the airline industry for a future career, with fears of a recession and omnipresent inflation always in the back of student pilots' minds. The airline reiterated that it still plans to hire 1,000 new pilots this year, and that it's still a pretty high number for an average year. The change is just throttling back from a post-pandemic high, looking to achieve a more reasonable, consistent level of growth.

“Delta’s 2024 hiring projections are representative of a continued healthy and robust demand for pilots,” a Delta spokesperson said in a statement. “What we anticipate for the coming year is a very strong, yet more normalized, growth pattern that is reflective of Delta’s full operational restoration post-pandemic and continued focus on industry leadership.”

While it's always a little iffy reading tea leaves, it almost seems as if Delta finished off its holiday travel season with less than impressive results. In mid-December, the company said that "6.4 million customers experienced the Delta Difference over the Thanksgiving holiday period," including 5 days without a cancellation. Despite their optimism heading into the 'busiest time of the year', there hasn't yet been any press from the carrier crowing about record breaking passenger loads. If Delta execs saw numbers that indicated the tune is slowing in the game of economic musical chairs, it would explain why they feel the worst of the pandemic surge is behind them. From here on out, it's back to business as usual - but that's just conjecture until updated reports are published later this quarter.



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