Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said the company plans to hire an additional 5,000 people as the firm faces what he referred to as "some unforeseen challenges" in the midst of a surge in travel demand following coronavirus lockdowns.
"While we are pleased to welcome you back, the unexpected pace of the return of our customers has resulted in some unforeseen challenges as we ramp up to meet demand and handle a record-breaking level of calls," Bastian wrote in an update on the airline's website on Tuesday, adding, "We know you expect more from Delta and assure you that these challenges are temporary."
|DAL||DELTA AIR LINES, INC.||43.53||+0.94||+2.21%|
The CEO said Delta is aiming to hire an additional 5,000 people on top of their current 75,000 in an effort to reduce wait times for customers both on the phone and at the airport, as airlines scramble to keep up with the post-pandemic rebound.
But the aspiration to hire thousands more workers in quick fashion comes amid widespread labor shortages nationwide – far beyond just the travel industry – and airlines are feeling it, too.
Last month, American Airlines reportedly canceled hundreds of flights over just a few days amid staffing shortages on their own crews and among vendors. Just days before, the Transportation Security Administration chief issued a memo saying the agency expected labor shortages to impact travel at more than 130 airports nationwide.