By Andrea Ahlers--
American Airlines had over 20,000 people apply for flight attendant positions in less than week.
The Fort Worth-based carrier had opened up its application process on November 5 and is still looking for foreign-language candidates to apply, American spokesman Casey Norton said on Thursday.
Last month, American announced plans to hire 1,500 new flight attendants over the next year. With over 2,200 flight attendants taking a voluntary buy-out that included a $40,000 severance payment, American said it needed to hire new crew members to maintain adequate staffing levels.
It's the first time that American has hired new flight attendants in over a decade. Applicants will be processed this month with training scheduled to begin in January.
As part of the new contract it negotiated with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants while American is in bankruptcy, flight attendants will be trained to work on both domestic and international routes. Next year, they will also be trained on the Boeing 777-300 and Airbus aircraft that will enter American's fleet.
American currently has 16,000 flight attendants, at an average age of 51, according to the union. Their average annual salary is $45,000, American has said, which is higher than the national average of $37,740 for flight attendants in 2010, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.