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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

Biden announces small business tax credits for vaccine PTO

Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday called on all employers to provide workers paid time off to get vaccinated or recover from COVID side effects, and said he'll include a paid tax credit for small businesses that do so.

Why it matters: The Biden administration sees workplaces as highly influential in making shots more convenient for working adults who are in high-risk industries.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Apr 21, 2021 - Health

The U.S. is approaching the vaccine hesitancy "tipping point"

Expand chart
Data: CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. will probably run out of adults who are enthusiastic about getting vaccinated within the next two to four weeks, according to a KFF analysis published yesterday.

Between the lines: Vaccine hesitancy is rapidly approaching as our main impediment to herd immunity.

Apr 21, 2021 - Health

FDA: Plant that ruined millions of J&J doses had multiple failures

The Emergent BioSolutions plant in Baltimore in April 2021. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Baltimore Emergent BioSolutions manufacturing plant that ruined 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine had multiple procedural failures, including unsanitary conditions near sensitive manufacturing areas, the Food and Drug Administration stated in a report Wednesday

Why it matters: The FDA faulted Emergent for failing to thoroughly review the incident, which halted the potential production and shipment tens of millions of Johnson & Johnson doses this month.