Earlier this year, a United Airlines executive stated that the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was even worse than the worst estimates anyone at the company thought possible. But it seems like those dark and troubled times may be coming to an end soon.
Late last week, company officials reportedly told employees in a memo that the carrier would be hiring hundreds of pilots to keep up with demand for domestic air travel. The message was a sharp turnaround from last year when the company told tens of thousands of employees that furloughs would be likely in 2021.
“I’m excited to share that United will resume the pilot hiring process that was halted last year. We’ll restart with approximately 300 pilots who either had a new hire class date that was canceled or who had a 2020 conditional job offer,” said Bryan Quigley, United’s Senior Vice President of Flight Operations, in the memo.
Travelers are already returning to the air
There have already been signs that the airline industry is starting to return to “normal” after over a year in the pandemic doldrums. Last month, several airlines announced they were bringing back in-flight food and beverage services for select flights and customers.
If the recent holiday weekend is any indication, more passengers could soon be taking to the air to enjoy these amenities. The Transportation Security Administration reports that over 1.5 million travelers went through security checkpoints on Thursday and Friday leading into Easter weekend, and there were similar numbers reported for Sunday. For each of these days in 2020, when the pandemic first began, checkpoint visits were below 130,000 per day.