United Sees 2,850 Pilot Layoffs Without New Aid, Echoing Rivals
(Bloomberg) -- United Airlines Holdings Inc. will furlough as many as 2,850 pilots this year unless the government approves additional funding to help the industry cover its payroll costs amid a collapse in travel demand.
he job cuts would begin Oct. 1, United said in a memo to pilots Thursday. That would add to tens of thousands of likely job cuts across the U.S. airline industry unless Congress grants an extension of the prior Cares Act funding, which helped carriers pay employees for six months on the condition that they would avoid mass layoffs.
“Please know that these decisions are made to help secure the long-term viability of our airline, and hope that in the future, we will be able to welcome back many of those that we have to say goodbye to this year,” Bryan Quigley, United’s senior vice president of flight operations, wrote in the memo.
In July, United warned that one-third of its nearly 12,000 aviators faced a furlough because a steep drop in travel demand is forcing the airline to resize its operations.
In a memo to pilots, the United chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association called the cuts “devastating news.”
“While other airlines have chosen to reduce manpower through voluntary means, it is tragic that United has limited those options for our pilots and instead has chosen to furlough more pilots than ever before in our history,” the pilot group wrote.
United will furlough 1,747 pilots when U.S. payroll support ends on Oct. 1, followed by 572 at the end of the month and 531 on Nov. 30, the union said.
Delta Air Lines Inc. said Monday that it would furlough 1,941 pilots in October. More than 1,800 others took an early-retirement package from Delta. At United, about 500 pilots accepted an “early-out” option to leave the Chicago-based airline.
American Airlines Group Inc. said Tuesday it will cut 19,000 workers after payroll aid expires, bringing its total workforce reduction to about 40,000 jobs, or 30% since the pandemic began. Including voluntary departures, leaves and furloughs, the number of pilots will fall 23%.
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