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Delta Air to Add 1,000 Attendants on New Jobs, Furlough Recalls

Adding cargo and maintenance sales would help Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson narrow the gap with  United Continental Holdings Inc. Photographer: Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg
Adding cargo and maintenance sales would help Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson narrow the gap with United Continental Holdings Inc. Photographer: Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg

Oct. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Delta Air Lines Inc. is adding 1,000 flight attendants, many of them to work on more profitable international routes, as global demand for travel improves.

About 600 of the positions will be new hires and Delta has received 85,000 applications, said Betsy Talton, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based company. Many of the jobs require candidates to speak Dutch, Spanish, Japanese or Mandarin, she said.

Delta is focusing on long-haul international flights that are more lucrative than domestic trips as it tries to reverse two years of losses while a weak U.S. economy damped travel. Delta said in July it would add 1,000 airport and customer-service workers at its biggest hubs to help with planes flying with near-record percentages of seats filled.

The company first offered the jobs to attendants who were on furlough and 425 accepted, Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson said in his weekly recorded message to employees. The company expects to interview about 90 candidates a day through the end of the year, he said.

Delta, the world’s second-biggest carrier, has about 20,000 attendants, and the new positions would be a 5 percent increase for that work group. Current attendants are voting through Nov. 3 on whether to be represented by the Association of Flight Attendants. That union handled bargaining for Northwest Airlines Corp. attendants before Delta bought the smaller carrier in 2008.

Pre-merger Delta flight attendants have twice rejected union drives. A change by the U.S. National Mediation Board now allows the majority of votes cast to determine the outcome of an election. Previously, abstaining from voting was counted as a “no,” setting a higher threshold for unions to win approval.

United Airlines and Continental Airlines merged in October to form United Continental Holdings Inc., surpassing Delta in size.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mary Jane Credeur in Atlanta at mcredeur@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at edufner@bloomberg.net.

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