US Airways to hire 350 pilots
US Airways plans to hire 350 new pilots over the next 12 to 16 months and promote 140 other pilots who now fly regional jets to operating larger aircraft, the company said today.
Most of the new hires will be based at the airline's Philadelphia International Airport hub and will fly new 99-seat Embraer 190 jets, the airline said in a statement.
The pilot staffing needs are primarily driven by the retirement of pilots from the mainline operation, which uses larger Boeing and Airbus aircraft to fly longer routes, the company said. Commercial airline pilots are required by the Federal Aviation Administration to retire by age 60. The FAA has proposed raising the mandatory retirement age to 65 but is still collecting comments on the proposal.
The 140 pilots, who will move up from flying US Airways Express commuter flights, were furloughed from the mainline operation during the airline's two trips through Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection between 2002 and 2005.
President Scott Kirby said that two years after US Airways merged with America West Airlines, the carrier will have no pilots on furlough.
US Airways had 4,520 pilots on its payroll on Sept. 1. For the last three years, the airline has had about 1,700 furloughed pilots, including the 140 working for carriers in its Express division who will move up.
The airline is hiring additional pilots because it has already offered all those furloughed the chance to return to the cockpit and still needs new ones, spokesman Morgan Durrant said.
US Airways began adding the Brazilian-made Embraer 190 jets to its fleet in January. It has four of the medium-range planes and expects to take delivery of 25 by the end of 2008, Durrant said.
Source - Philadelphia Inquirer