Delta Cuts Training Goals In Half


Delta Air Lines intends to scale back pilot hiring next year to half the number the carrier hired 2023— an indication that the post-pandemic hiring spree is slowing down. 

Aero Crew News first broke the story after obtaining an “Flight Ops Weekly” internal memo to pilots outlining Delta’s intention to hire 1,100 pilots—a significant reduction compared to peak hiring figures in 2023, which reached 2,200. 

But despite Delta’s latest announcement, the company reminded its crew that the projected hiring figure is still well above average. The Wall Street Journal, which also reviewed the memo, highlighted the airline’s message: “Remember that any other year, hiring 1,100 pilots would be considered an incredibly high number.” 

Data from pilot career advisory firm shows major carriers are on track to hire 13,000 pilots this year, consistent with last year’s staggering figures. 

Still, while travel demand continues to hold steady, some carriers have joined Delta in adjusting their hiring pace. Following a disappointing third quarter, Spirit Airlines suspended pilot and cabin crew training, while cargo operators such as FedEx suggested its pilots look to join other U.S. carriers.

Amelia Walsh
Amelia Walsh is a private pilot who enjoys flying her family’s Columbia 350. She is based in Colorado and loves all things outdoors including skiing, hiking, and camping.


    • There are several reasons FedEx and UPS are reducing their operations and much different than what the passenger airlines are seeing. First there was a large boost in air cargo during the pandemic. Everyone stayed home and ended up doing a lot of shopping. Passenger operations across the Pacific were significantly reduced so the massive amount of goods that flew in the bellies of those planes now had to go to strictly freight operators causing a need for many more pilots at those companies and expanded operations. Now most of that increase has moved back to the passenger airlines. Lastly five years ago Amazon was using FedEx and UPS to deliver their packages. FedEx no longer does business with Amazon and UPS finds more and more of Amazon’s needs being carried by Amazon’s increasingly larger in house airline. Comparing FedEx and UPS with the passenger airlines is like comparing apples and oranges.

      • FedEx is also merging FedEx Ground with FedEx Air resulting in less time sensitive items being shipped in trucks rather than planes.

    • Not sure I understand your comment. If the airline is cutting hiring from 2200 down to 1000 pilots then it only makes sense that the training would be cut back. How is that doing more with less? As a side note most all of the major carries just signed very lucrative contracts with their pilots which would not just include pay raises but better working conditions and schedules.

  1. I really wish AV WEB would do an article on the “Elephant” in the room about the lack of A&P/IA mechanics in the industry. The numbers from AOPA/ US Labor statistics and other aviation sources showing the decline of maintenance personnel as this:

    Year 2015 = 3450,000 certified mechanics in the US. This number is including the 30% of A&P not currently working in the industry Which puts the active number at 241,500 mechanics.

    Year 2020 = 305,000 certified mechanics with a significant loss of 45,000 in the industry.
    Of these numbers, 63.5% of all certified mechanics are over the age of 50, (myself included) with up to 30% retiring annually. The current growth rate for certified mechanics is at 2% per year.

    In the next decade we will be loosing roughly 80,000 per year due to retirements and other leaving the industry with 2% new or 4,500 per year.

    Most of these new hires will be going to the airlines for the benefits and up to $6,000 signing bonuses. Most of the retirees are in the GA field which is quickly being gutted by the airlines.

    My predictions will be with over 200,000 GA airplanes, and dwindling numbers, and the retirees leaving the industry in the next 10 years GA will be dead. All of the retirees will be leaving the industry with VAST amounts of “Tribal Knowledge” and no one to pass it on to.