As millions of Americans gear up for a summer of vacation flights, Ben Wallander is hitting the books and the simulator.
The 27-year-old is one of hundreds of pilots Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) and American Airlines (AAL.O) are rushing to train after a surge in travel bookings spurred by COVID-19 vaccinations.
Thousands of pilots at Delta and American have lost their active status, which lapses after 90 days of not flying, at some point over the past year as the coronavirus pandemic slammed the brakes on air travel and brought airlines to their knees.
But a long U.S. Memorial Day weekend from Friday is expected to usher in a forecast surge in summer leisure travel that will test the ability of airlines to manage a long-awaited comeback.
While the airlines have already retrained many of their pilots, the travel revival has forced Delta and American to seek more simulators and flight…
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