United Airlines Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: UAL) said on Thursday it will start hiring hundreds of pilots in the near future. The air carrier was previously pushed into halting the process due to the Coronavirus pandemic that wreaked havoc on demand for air travel.
United Airlines is the first in the league of large U.S. air carriers to have expressed plans of resuming pilot hiring. The announcement reflects that the Chicago-based company is laying the groundwork for recovery after an unprecedented hit to the global airline industry.
U.S. airlines faced £25.30 billion of combined loss in 2020
The COVID-19 crisis made airlines, including United, to minimise costs last year. To that end, U.S. air carriers urged thousands of workers in 2020 to opt for early retirement packages, buyouts, and leaves of absence.
U.S. airlines valued combined loss at £25.30 billion in 2020. Thanks to vaccine rollouts, however, they are now confident that demand will start to recover in the upcoming months. In January, United Airlines posted £1.39 billion of loss for the fiscal fourth quarter.
United Airlines opened at £41.72 per share in the stock market on Thursday and closed the regular session around the same level after touching an intraday high of £42.24 per share and an intraday low of £41.41 per share. At the time of writing, United Airlines has a market capitalisation of £13.29 billion.
American Airlines to use non-union pilots for some test flights
In related news, American Airlines Group Inc (NASDAQ: AAL) said on Thursday it will start using non-union pilots for some test flights. Previously, it used specially-trained union pilots to test aircraft after heavy maintenance or long-term storage.
Sarah Jantz, American Airlines spokeswoman, said on Thursday:
“For the past five years, American has been transitioning our test flying to these skilled pilots and fleet experts to better manage the unpredictable nature of test flights, which are dictated by the completion of maintenance and do not follow a set schedule.”
The news comes only a day after American Airlines said it repaid £2.02 billion worth of loans. American Airlines shares closed the regular session more than 0.5% down on Thursday. Including the price action, the stock is now trading at £17.25 per share.
In comparison, it had started the year at £10.94 per share after recovering from a low of £6.53 per share in May 2020, when the impact of the virus outbreak was at its peak.
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