Delta recalling furloughed pilots, flight attendants

ATLANTA - Delta Air Lines Inc., the nation's third-largest carrier, said Friday it is recalling up to 65 furloughed pilots and 200 flight attendants to provide cabin relief and help service the company's expanded destinations.

Recalled pilots will begin training in October and return to flights for Delta afterward. Atlanta-based Delta recalled 64 pilots in June.

''The pilots will provide relief in certain aircraft categories, and both groups will support what we expect to be another year of expanded destinations for our customers in 2007,'' Jim Whitehurst, Delta's chief operating officer, said in a statement.

Delta has added dozens of new international routes and expects to announce new service to more international destinations later this year.

The airline, which has been operating under bankruptcy protection since September 2005, expects to emerge from Chapter 11 by the middle of 2007.

The company is already in the process of recalling 100 maintenance personnel, and it said it is hiring for its airport customer service and reservations areas.

The recalls and hiring follow several years in which Delta cut thousands of jobs and reduced wages and benefits across the board. It has lost more than $16 billion since January 2001, but in recent months has been starting to turn things around as it restructured its costs and raised ticket prices with the rest of the industry.

Delta's announcement about recalling pilots and flight attendants follows Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest Airlines Corp.'s decision Thursday to recall all 1,131 of its furloughed flight attendants. The move will boost the size of its cabin staff as it awaits a judge's ruling on whether those workers can strike. Northwest also is recalling about 25 pilots monthly through the end of the year and plans to recall a steady number, but fewer than 25 a month, through 2007. Northwest filed for bankruptcy the same day as Delta.