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Southwest Airlines is recalling more than 200 pilots as air travel continues to improve from the lows of the coronavirus pandemic as more people get vaccinated.
The major carrier said 209 pilots from the airline’s voluntary leave program will be called back to "support the upcoming summer schedule."
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The pilots will return to "active status" on June 1, and when they do, they will be asked to complete "all requalification training requirements prior to resuming flying duties," according to a spokesperson for Southwest.
Early on in the pandemic, when travel demand had slumped to historic lows, Southwest had implemented its voluntary time off program, offering employees "who wish to continue their employment" the opportunity to take long-term time off.
The program was available to a handful of employees for a minimum of six months. During this time, employees would get partial pay as well as other benefits, travel privileges and health care.