American Airlines is preparing to restart new hire flight attendant training for the first time since early 2020 when the Dallas Fort Worth-based airline was forced to suspend classes indefinitely and close its crew training center in response to the pandemic. The move comes as American gears up for a busy summer season which will see capacity hit near pre-pandemic levels.
In a new letter sent to new hire flight attendants that have been forced to wait for more than a year to start their dream jobs, American Airlines says training might finally be ready to get started… soon.
“While we’re not ready to resume initial flight attendant training yet, we look forward to welcoming you back to our Skyview campus in Dallas/Fort Worth soon,” the email, which was published by the trusted aviation source JonNYC on Twitter, revealed.
“As promised, we have maintained your hiring status, and we wanted to check in with you since it’s been a while,” the email continues. “Thank you for your patience and continued interest in becoming an American Airlines flight attendant.”
The positive outlook is a far cry from just a few short months ago when AA chief executive Doug Parker told flight attendants to prepare for yet another round of mass furloughs because the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out wasn’t going as quickly as he had hoped.
Since that warning back in February, the vaccination roll-out in the United States has outpaced nearly every other in the world and travel demand has recovered almost as quickly.
Parker had feared he would need to furlough as many as 13,000 employees in April, including 4,245 flight attendants and 1,850 pilots. Instead, American Airlines has every furloughed flight attendant back at work and has been forced to recall workers who had taken extended periods of voluntary leave from the airline.
American Airlines has taken one of the most bullish bets on the outlook for the industry this summer, increasing capacity to just shy of pre-pandemic levels in June and July. The number of seats available in June will be just 7 per cent lower than the same month in 2019, while the gap will be even smaller in July with a mere 5 per cent fewer seats on sale.
On Memorial Day, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened more than 1.9 million travelers at airport checkpoints across the United States. Passenger numbers are now regularly pushing over 70 per cent of levels recorded in 2019 even with international traffic still significantly down owing to continued travel restrictions.