Wizz Air, eastern Europe’s biggest budget airline, plans to hire 4,600 pilots by 2030 as it seeks to restore its network capacity to pre-coronavirus levels amid a rebound in travel demand.
The airline has already trained more than 150 additional pilots and aims to hire 300 more by the end of this year, it said on Sunday.
“We are pleased to be recruiting for thousands of new pilot positions at an exciting time for Wizz Air, as we continue to grow our presence across Europe and beyond," said chief operations officer Heiko Holm.
Airlines across the world are gradually expanding their head count of pilots and cabin crew as global travel shows signs of recovery in key markets in Europe and the US.
American Airlines Group said it will hire 350 pilots this year and 1,000 in 2022, 50 per cent more than previously planned, while Delta Air Lines plans to hire more than 1,000 pilots by next year.
Another European budget airline Ryanair said last month that it is hiring 2,000 pilots over the next three years in anticipation of a return of travel demand.
Wizz Air, which has built up capacity faster than its rivals, said the new staff will help it to operate its growing fleet, which is expected to triple to 500 Airbus aircraft over the next 10 years.
Currently, the Hungarian airline operates more than 800 flights to 191 destinations in 49 countries.
Meanwhile, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, a joint venture between Wizz Air and Abu Dhabi state holding company ADQ, currently serves 31 routes from its base at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Wizz Air said it will accept applications from experienced captains and first officers, as well as those with no flying experience at all. The airline is also recruiting cabin crew members across its 43 bases but did not specify how many will be hired.
Recent recruitment calls have brightened the outlook for jobs in the aviation industry, which was one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Experts have also issued a warning on an impending shortage of pilots in the near term as travel demand picks up. The world could experience a global shortage of 34,000 pilots by 2025, according to a recent report by consultancy Oliver Wyman.
"Eventually, the impact of furloughs, retirements and defections will create very real challenges for even some of the biggest carriers," it said.