Delta plans to return 400 pilots to active flying by summer

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FILE – In this May 14, 2020 file photo, several dozen mothballed Delta Air Lines jets are parked on a closed runway at Kansas City International Airport in Kansas City, Mo. Delta plans to bring back 400 pilots who have been idled because of the travel slump caused by the pandemic. The airline says the pilots will return to regular flying duties by this summer. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

ATLANTA (AP) — Delta plans to bring back 400 pilots who have been idled because of the travel slump caused by the pandemic.

Delta says the pilots will return to regular flying duties by this summer.

The airline says it’s increasing its staffing earlier than expected.

The pilots’ union said Monday it was encouraged. U.S. passenger traffic so far in January is down 61% from a year ago, and Delta and United are forecasting weak travel demand through March.

But airline industry officials expect domestic travel to improve quickly once a critical mass of Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19.

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