United Airlines To Cut 16,000 Jobs When Federal Aid Dries Up This Fall

TOPLINE

United Airlines on Wednesday announced it will join American Airlines in cutting thousands of jobs in October due to ongoing low demand and the impending end of federal aid under the CARES Act.

KEY FACTS

After warning 36,000 of its nearly 92,000 employees last month that their positions were at risk, United announced it’s preparing to cut 16,370 workers on October 1. 

The non-voluntary cuts will impact 6,920 flight attendants, 2,850 pilots, 2,260 working in airport operations, 2,010 mechanics and 1,400 management jobs. 

Many of the workers will be furloughed, meaning they can return to their positions when demand picks up again.

Around 7,400 United employees have already chosen to leave the company and 20,000 others are on temporary leave programs. 

American Airlines made a similar announcement last week, with 19,000 employees expected to lose their jobs in the fall. 

Federal aid expires in October and, with that, so do protections on airline workers. 

Big Number 

17.2%. The percentage of United employees who will be affected by this round of job cuts. 

Key Background 

Airlines receiving a portion of the $25 billion bailout as part of the $2.2 trillion federal stimulus package agreed to keep on 90% of their staff through September as a condition for the aid. With negotiations for future support at a standstill in Washington D.C., airlines are preparing for the worst. On top of job cuts, American suspended flight services to 15 small cities, while Southwest Airlines eliminated 35,000 flights from its schedule. Delta also announced last week plans to furlough around 2,000 pilots. The industry is expected to take years to recover from losses during the pandemic. 

Crucial Quote 

“It was assumed that by Sept. 30, the virus would be under control and demand for air travel would have returned. That is obviously not the case,” American CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom wrote in a Tuesday letter to employees last week. 

Further Reading 

“American Airlines Will Cut 19,000 Jobs In October As Coronavirus Decimates Travel Industry” (Forbes) 

“Six Numbers That Show How Hard The Travel Industry Is Being Hit By The  Coronavirus Shutdown” (Forbes)

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