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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Airlines are readying more pilots for a blowout bounce-back in demand.

Why it matters: The companies were clobbered by the pandemic. Now they're racing to make sure they're ready for a flying boom.

  • American Airlines says it will hire 300 additional pilots by year-end — the first time it's resumed hiring since the pandemic.
  • United is restarting the hiring process for 300 pilots who had job offers and training plans waylaid by the pandemic.
  • Southwest last week said it would bring back almost 400 more pilots from voluntary leave "ahead of the planned flight increase in the summer schedule."

Details: In some cases, furloughed pilots who were brought back after the government's airline payroll support programs weren't flying, though they were being paid.

  • To fly again, pilots need retraining, which takes time.
  • American says all of its pilots will return to flying status by the end of the summer.

What to watch: Whether enough pilots will be trained in time to meet demand. Airline CEOs have been upbeat about domestic travel rebounding in earnings calls this week.

  • Delta recently canceled flights in part because so many pilots retired during the pandemic and there was a backlog of others returning to active status.

What they're saying: "The speed of this recovery based on the forward bookings they are seeing is much stronger than they even thought they planned for," says Dennis Tajer, a pilot and spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association union.

  • "It's unfortunate because it's a possible sign they may not be ready for the recovery in full measure."

Go deeper

Jul 30, 2021 - Health

South leads surge of hospitalizations

AdventHealth hospital in Orlando is seen on the day that hospital officials reported they were elevating to level red with a full ICU and more than 1,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Coronavirus hospitalizations in the South are once again surging — in some cases to levels near or above their previous records.

Why it matters: Overwhelmed hospitals, especially paired with staffing shortages, cause whole communities to suffer.

At least 3 dead after Amtrak train derails in Montana

Photo: Jacob Cordeiro/Twitter

An Amtrak train derailed near Joplin, Montana, resulting in at least three deaths and multiple injuries to passengers and crew on Saturday, per authorities and a company statement.

The big picture: 141 passengers and 16 crew members were estimated to be on the Empire Builder train, traveling from Chicago to Seattle and Portland, when eight of the 10 cars derailed about 4p.m., Amtrak said early Sunday.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in Brooklyn on Sept. 13. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

A federal appeals court is set to hear a challenge Wednesday to a vaccine mandate planned for New York City school employees.

Why it matters The vaccine mandate was set to begin on Monday, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the nation's largest school system. But a judge on Friday temporarily blocked the measure, per AP.