Southwest recalls another 382 pilots ahead of summer travel

Southwest Airlines (LUV.N) said on Thursday it would recall another 382 pilots from a voluntary leave program as airlines prepare for a vaccine-led recovery in travel demand in the summer.

The COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying travel restrictions have hammered the aviation sector, but the mass rollout of vaccines is expected to drive a recovery this year.

Southwest said in a statement that the pilots would return to active status on July 1.

The low-cost airline said earlier this month it would recall 209 pilots and over 2,700 flight attendants from June 1 to support its summer schedule.

With the latest move, all Southwest captains would have returned from the airline’s voluntary leave program.

However, about 500 first officers are still participating in the program, the airline said.