Delta to hire 1,500 flight attendants, hopes to have 3,000 ready by next summer

Airline's hiring push comes even as the delta variant threatens travel yet again

Delta Air Lines is doubling the number of flight attendants it plans to hire ahead of the 2022 summer season, even as the delta variant of the coronavirus threatens the industry's path to recovery. 

The Atlanta-based carrier announced Monday that it is hiring 1,500 safety and service-oriented professionals that will join the 2021-2022 flight attendant class.  

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This is in addition to another 1,500 roles that the carrier is currently filling for candidates that already made it through hiring processes prior to the coronavirus pandemic.   

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DAL DELTA AIR LINES, INC. 40.78 +0.67 +1.67%

Its hope is to have 3,000 new flight attendants for "summer 2022 flying and beyond," the carrier said.    

Earlier this summer, the airline noted that it was scrambling to meet the demand of travelers who flooded back to airports nationwide as vaccination rates rose.

The recovery in travel was faster than many expected, even for Delta which had asked employees to take unpaid leaves of absence in 2020 to help it withstand the travel slump.  

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"We are now in active recovery of our business, and the challenges of getting our airline fully back to the service level our customers expect and deserve is daunting in light of the huge surge in demand that we are experiencing," Delta CEO Ed Bastian told investors during the company's second-quarter earnings call in July. 

Virus Outbreak-Delta Air Lines

People sit under Delta sign at Salt Lake City International Airport on July 1, 2021, in Salt Lake City.  (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, file / AP Newsroom)

At the time, Bastian said the carrier was already in the process of hiring between 4,000 and 5,000 people over the course of the year. 

The airline mentioned no plans of slowing down on its hiring efforts even as new data suggests that the delta variant of the coronavirus may be hindering air travel yet again.

In recent weeks, the number of travelers passing through airport checkpoints across the nation started to dip as the number of coronavirus infections fueled by the delta variant continues to rise. 

On Monday, just over 1.3 million travelers were screened at airports nationwide, down from the pandemic high of more than 2.2 million at the beginning of August.  

DELTA VARIANT DAMPENS AIRLINE INDUSTRY'S PATH TO RECOVERY, ADOBE SAYS

During the first three weeks of August, bookings declined at an aggressive pace as consumers starting "taking the Delta variant seriously and once again shifting their travel plans," Adobe Digital Insights lead analyst, Vivek Pandya, said. 

From Aug. 1 to 21, consumers only spent $2.9 billion on domestic flight bookings. This is a decrease from July and June spending at $5.26 billion and $6 billion, respectively. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.