The application window will open tomorrow, Oct. 1 at 1200 CT, and
we expect our first class of new hires to start on Dec. 3. That’s a
pretty short window, so the recruitment team, headed by our own Patty
Taylor, is going to be moving extremely quickly to get everything done
We want to make sure we hire not only the most technically skilled
pilots, but also pilots that “fit” with and within the American Airlines
culture, so a lot of time and energy has gone into the development of
our pilot recruitment process. You’ll see that technology plays a big
role in the initial stages; however, since you are the ones that will
fly with these people, we have a group of AA pilots that will interview
the applicants that make it to the final stages of the hiring process,
and they will have a major voice in the hiring decision.
I’m sure that many of you have friends or family that will be interested
in applying, so we’re also adding a Recruitment page to AAPilots that
will include the specifics on the interview process, a Pilot Selection
Process Guide, instructions on how you can submit
references/recommendation letters, and answer a few common questions.
Speaking of recommendations, please be selective about those you
recommend. Your feedback will be given serious consideration, so make
sure you’re only recommending someone you’re willing to work with for
years to come.
This is extremely exciting news. It means movement and more opportunity –
things we’ve all been looking forward to. So, when you see that person
in the dark suit wandering the halls of the Flight Academy, stop them,
shake their hand, and let them know how happy we are that they want to
be a part of our great airline.
Q: How many pilots do we plan to hire in 2014?
A: For now, it looks like we’ll be hiring approximately 1,500 new pilots
over the course of five years. The plan is to hold two classes a month
with 25 new hires in each class beginning Dec. 2013. The new hire
classes are currently scheduled through the summer of 2014.
Q: How does someone apply?
A: We will accept pilot applications through AACareers.com.
Q: What should I tell friends/family who are eager to get an interview?
tell them to be patient. If they are competitive, their name will
surface and they will be contacted by American Airlines. You should also
encourage them to update their online application often as they gain
experience. This will allow them to remain as competitive as possible
during any evaluations of online applicant data.
Q: Does it help to write a letter of recommendation?
A:Since we anticipate a large number of applicants, we have developed an
online automated system of accepting employee recommendations via
AACareers. Remember that when you submit a LOR, you’re essentially
putting your reputation on the line on behalf of the candidate you
recommend. We expect that if you are recommending a pilot, you
personally believe that s/he would be a solid addition to the American
Airlines pilot corp.
Q: So, what is the bottom line on helping someone get an interview with American?
A:First, tell them to be patient. We plan to review thousands of
applicants, for approximately 30 interview slots held no more than 24
times per year. Second, encourage them to update their online
application often. The best thing about our automated system is that a
pilot applicant can update his/her information as often as they like and
that information will continue to be an important factor in one’s
ability to rise to the top in the competitive evaluation process.
Q: I have a friend that is coming in for an interview, what should I tell him/her?
A:Tell them to relax, and be themselves! The selection team is fully
committed to making sure each candidate is able to show us their best
qualities. The questions are designed to allow candidates to share real
experiences and help us get to know them better. Tell them to be
prepared to share stories that demonstrate their own values and then, if
they’re right for this role, it will be obvious.
Q: How are we able to hire new pilots while we’re in restructuring?
A:A number of factors are driving the need to grow our pilot workforce,
including our broad fleet renewal efforts that include taking delivery
of new Airbus and Boeing aircraft, the addition of new routes to our
global network, projected pilot retirements and the FAA’s new rest and
duty time rules that come into effect in 2014. Having sufficient,
qualified pilots to operate our fleet is critical to the success of the
Q: Do you expect these pilot hiring projections to change as a result of the merger with US Airways?
A: No. The factors driving our need for new pilots will still be in
effect if the merger closes, including our fleet renewal plan, which is
one of the foundational strengths of the merger. If our proposed merger
is approved, we’ll continue routinely evaluating our staffing and making
adjustments as needed, and are hopeful that a merged new American would
provide even greater career progression and growth opportunities.
Q: What is American doing to attract pilots from diverse backgrounds?
A: As always, American seeks to hire the most qualified employees. We
have a strong relationship with Women in Aviation (WIA), the
Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) and many other
organizations that can tap into a pool of qualified pilots. We plan to
work closely with these groups to support our goals in hiring the most
Q: Where will the new hire pilots be based and what type of aircraft will they fly?
A: Base and aircraft are assigned by seniority, so our new hire pilots
will be assigned to the most junior base(s) and aircraft. Currently, the
most junior crew bases are LGA and MIA, and the junior aircraft is the
MD80 and the 737.
Q: How will the American Eagle flow-through pilots be handled?
A:With two new hire classes being held monthly, we anticipate that half
of each class will have flow-through pilots from American Eagle and the
balance will be external hire candidates.
Q: How does the new flight background selection software work?
A:The system allows “filters” to be set and honed according to
parameters that we feel can help ensure success for the candidate and
American Airlines. The automation can sort through hundreds of
applications in just a few short minutes, which allows us to effectively
select the most qualified candidates.
Q: How can I participate in the new hire pilot process?
A:As we need experienced pilots to assist with new hire pilot
recruitment, selection and hiring, we will communicate those needs
through our regular communication vehicles – AAPilots, CCI and company
We are pleased to announce that we will begin recruiting new pilots and
will begin accepting pilot applications on Oct. 1, 2013 — the first time
in more than 10 years.
We’ve been doing a lot of work behind the scenes to prepare for our
newest team members, and we’ve shared some information along the way
about the process. But now that we have finalized the details, we want
to disclose the hiring process with you, so that you can be aware of the
procedure and share this information with future recruits.
Phase I – Selecting the best
As you can imagine, since our last hiring phase, we’ve added some
significant technology to our selection process in an effort to manage
the anticipated volume of applicants, as well as help us identify those
whose background and experience most closely align with our needs.
We will use state-of-the art software designed to evaluate applicants by
virtue of the flight-related data they provide in their online
Additionally, candidates will complete an online assessment designed
specifically for pilot selection. The criteria for this selection were
designed using information gathered from dozens of current American
Airlines pilots. Through their feedback, we developed a questionnaire
that focuses on a candidate’s ability to assimilate well with both the
Flight Department and the new American Airlines culture.
Phase II – Determining the best fit
Selected candidates are asked to complete a video interview. Through
this interview, we can better determine their interpersonal and
communication skills, along with their ability to think on their feet.
The strongest candidates are invited to meet with our team in person.
During this time, candidates will undergo a two-day assessment that
combines technology and personalized interaction with our Flight team,
which will give them insight into their potential new company and allow
us to realistically gauge their fit within our group.
Day 1, we will conduct a Pilot Skills Test (PST). The PST is a new,
computerized evaluation program that measures the critical skills
necessary to become an American pilot. Day 2 is dedicated to a two-part,
face-to-face interview conducted by Captains and First Officers from
all of our crew bases and members of the Pilot Selection Department. The
questions are behavioral-based, and our goal is to get an accurate
picture of a candidate’s demeanor and decision-making skills by learning
about actual situations they’ve encountered through their career.
Ultimately, this two-day assessment allows us the opportunity to learn
more about our prospective new team member and for them to learn more
about the Flight Department and American Airlines.
Phase III– Waiting for the call
Once we have a complete picture of the candidate, the final step is to
have their file evaluated by the Pilot Selection Board — a panel made up
of several members of the Flight Department, including Vice President
of Flight, Captain John Hale and Chief Pilot Line Operations, Captain
Bart Roberts. The approved candidates are then contacted by the Flight
Department and given a conditional offer with American Airlines. We then
schedule a medical exam and once the results are known, we will make
the final call confirming our conditional offer.
We anticipate the entire process — from the point that someone is
identified by the automated process until they show up for orientation
and training — to be approximately two months.
We think we have a good process in place and we’re excited to be seeking
out those individuals who not only possess the ability to do the job
for which they interview, but who also possess a passionate desire to do