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American Scales Back Pilot Hiring Plans, Pauses Summer Classes

The airline is reducing its hiring targets by nearly half in 2024.

An American 737-800 aircraft in Charlotte (Photo: AirlineGeeks)

American is the latest U.S. carrier to detail slashed 2024 pilot hiring plans. The Fort Worth-based airline is slated to reduce hiring by roughly 40% in 2024 compared to last year.

In a recent briefing to pilots viewed by AirlineGeeks, the company’s Vice President of Flight Operations Russ Moore said that American plans to hire 1,300 pilots this year. In 2023, the airline hired around 2,300.

Moore cited “delivery delays from Boeing” among the reasons for the reduction, but noted that 2024 is still poised to be the airline’s third-highest year for pilot hiring on record. In addition, the airline plans to pause new hire classes in June, July, August, and potentially in December, he said.

“In fact, we hired and trained more pilots in 2023 than we have in the history of this airline, and we did it efficiently enough that we were actually a bit ahead of where we needed to be for the summer of 2024,” Moore shared during the briefing. “This allowed us to transition from a ‘hire and train as many as you can’ approach to a more traditional approach, which in and of itself reduced our hiring targets for 2024.”

During the company’s investor day event in early March, CEO Robert Isom also noted the airline’s plans to pull back on pilot hiring. “So [hiring is] slowing down a little bit, but we have a considerable number of retirements. And so we will be hiring for the foreseeable future at levels like that,” Isom added.

Despite the slowdown, Moore added that hiring could pick up again as up to 850 of the airline’s pilots retire annually over the next five years. “So I expect we will be back to the 2023 tempo in hiring in pretty short order,” he concluded.

American joins a slew of other major airlines reducing their 2024 hiring, including both Delta and United. Earlier this year, Delta said it would also cut its 2024 pilot hiring plans in half.

The Allied Pilots Association (APA) – which represents over 16,000 American pilots – recently noted that the pilot shortage was “over.”

“The perceived pilot shortage is over, eliminating any further need for policymakers to consider changing the retirement age,” said the union’s President Captain Ed Sicher in a March statement.

American did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the hiring slowdown.

Ryan Ewing
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  • Ryan Ewing

    Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport/airline operations while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with an MBA. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. Ryan works for AirlineGeeks' owner FLYING Media, spearheading coverage in the commercial aviation space.

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