Southwest Airlines is reportedly reducing the number of hours prospective pilots must have spent flying jets and other turbine-powered aircraft.
While the airline had required applicants to have spent at least 1,000 hours flying such aircraft, The Wall Street Journal said Saturday that it will now consider candidates with less of that type of experience.
The outlet said the change is set to go into effect Feb. 7, citing a message sent to pilots this week.
The carrier reportedly has noted there was an increased demand for highly qualified pilots across the industry.
The pilot credentials listed on Southwest's website show 500 hours in a fixed-wing turbine aircraft are "preferred."
Southwest Airlines told FOX Business in an emailed statement it had exceeded its 2022 hiring goal and was on an early track to meet its expanded 2023 goal.
"Our robust and rigorous flight operations training program has not changed, and all current and future first officer candidates must pass all elements of the curriculum prior to flying for Southwest," the airline said. "As this recruiting change is aligned with hiring at or above FAA requirements, we’ll continue selecting competitively-qualified, world-class aviators who demonstrate extensive flight experience, professionalism and Southwest’s values."
The Journal highlighted that Southwest is looking to expand its ranks by 1,700 pilots this year.
This article originally appeared on Fox Business News