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American Airlines Recalls All Flight Attendants From Leave, Will Hire New Crew to Avoid Shortage

American Airlines Recalls All Flight Attendants From Leave, Will Hire New Crew to Avoid Shortage

American Airlines is set to recall all remaining flight attendants from long-term leaves of absence and is poised to restart new flight attendant hiring to head off a crew shortage as the rebound in travel demand continues unabated. The Dallas Fort Worth-based carrier is even considering vacation buybacks as its struggles to match employee scheduling with its planned operation.

Late last month, the airline was forced to pro-actively cancel hundreds of flights through July due to a slew of issues including a labor shortage. A spokesperson said cutting its planned schedule by around 1 per cent would bring some much needed additional resilience and certainty to its summer operations.

According to reputable Twitter source @JonNYC, American will shortly send out notices cancelling all remaining leaves of absence for flight attendants. The notices are expected to be sent by the end of this week with flight attendants told to return to work from November 2021 through to January 2022.

The insider also claims AA wants to start hiring new flight attendants as soon as possible. Last month, the airline told employees in an internal memo that while it would soon restart new flight attendant training, the company wasn’t yet ready to start the hiring process.

American suspended new flight attendant training in early 2020 and several classes were sent home as the pandemic wiped out the airline industry. Affected flight attendants had their hiring status maintained and are now being invited back to the airline’s training center in Dallas to restart their courses.

Even with those measures, the insider still says AA may struggle to staff its planned schedule early next year and will offer flight attendants vacation buybacks from February through April 2022.

American furloughed thousands of staff at the height of the pandemic despite receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer-backed payroll support funding to keep employees on their books and ready to support the industry when travel demand returned. While the payroll support program has been hailed as a huge success, it has failed to completely insulate the industry from disruption.

By the end of this month, American will offer just 5 per cent fewer seats than it did before the pandemic. While the recovery has been largely driven by domestic demand, AA also hopes to restore as much as 80 per cent of international capacity by the end of the year.

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  • A very sincere thank you to all airline employees for working for us to keep customers safe and for tolerating the public. I commend your willingness to put yourselves at risk in order to keep your jobs. Bless you all.

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