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Southwest Airlines to Reduce Minimum Requirements for Aspiring Pilots

Southwest Airlines says a potentially wider pool of applicants will allow it to remain selective. Photo: Liesbeth Powers/Associated Press

Southwest Airlines Co. is reducing the number of hours prospective pilots must have spent flying jets and other turbine-powered aircraft, as the carrier looks to increase hiring.

Southwest had required applicants to have spent at least 1,000 hours flying such aircraft. It will now consider pilots with less of that type of experience, and said it would list 500 hours of “turbine time” as a preferred qualification. The change is set to go into effect Feb. 7, according to a message the airline sent to pilots this week.

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