Delta Air Lines says it plans to hire at least 6,000 new employees next year after being “caught off-guard” by rapid growth during the first nine months of 2019 as well as a series of weather events that have heaped pressure on its workforce. The news came during the carrier’s third-quarter earnings call during which Delta revealed it had made a pre-tax income of $1.9 billion – up 22 per cent on the same period in 2018.
In a telephone interview, a senior Delta executive said between a half to two-thirds of new hires will be to replace retirements and resignations – the rest will support the airline’s growth and help it “better prepare” for 2020. Delta says it has been a “beneficiary” of the Boeing 737MAX debacle and has been running 90 per cent load factors throughout the summer.
Along with bad weather that has disrupted Delta’s operations throughout the year, the airline admitted that resources had been “bursting at the seams” at certain points. The airline will be focusing on front line employees groups with a specific emphasis on pilots and flight attendants.
Delta says it will open up pilot recruitment earlier than ever and it will likely run throughout 2020 because of a spike in pilot retirements expected next year. Non-fuel related expenses connected to the hiring spree are anticipated to increase by between 2-3 per cent.
Flight attendant recruitment at the Atlanta-based airline reopened at the end of August and applications remain open. Delta is said to have planned an initial intake of 1,000 new hire flight attendants for 2020 but has now upped this figure to between 2,000 -3,000 new flight attendants.
At the start of October, a recently-announced 4 per cent pay rise came into effect for flight attendants – a way of thanking them for a particularly tough summer. Delta’s legendary employee profit-sharing bonus pot has now increased to at least $1.3 billion for 2019.
More details about Delta’s flight attendant recruitment process can be found here.