AMR Corp.’s American Airlines said Tuesday it would recall 24 pilots in February, the first new pilot hires at the airline in eight months.
Airline spokeswoman Tami McLallen said the additional pilots were needed to replace pilots who retired, including some who opted to quit early, and to fly new planes coming into the fleet.
Pilots at American have part of their retirement benefits tied to the stock market. When the market drops, as it did last year, they can retroactively lock in better returns by retiring.
The new hires will come from a list of about 2,000 pilots who were furloughed in recent years. The airline has about 8,000 active pilots.
American added small numbers of new pilots for several months last year, but none after June, McLallen said. American and other U.S. carriers reduced flights and cut jobs last fall as they faced large financial losses.
The Allied Pilots Association, which represents American’s pilots, said in message to members that it expects the company to recall additional pilots in March. McLallen said plans for March were not final.