CHICAGO: United Airlines said Thursday that it will furlough up to 2,850 pilots this fall unless the federal government provides more relief to help airlines cover their labour costs during a pandemic-fuelled downturn in travel.
United’s figure is higher than the 1,941 pilots that Delta plans to furlough and the 1,600 targeted for termination at American.
The Chicago-based airline told pilots it will send furlough notices by US mail in the next few days, with the cuts taking effect between October 1 and November 30.
The airlines and their labour unions are lobbying for another USD 25 billion to help the companies cover payroll costs for six more months, through next March.
However, talks between the White House and congressional Democrats over a larger virus-relief measure have stalled.
Earlier this year, Washington set aside 50 billion in grants and loans for passenger airlines, including USD 25 billion to keep workers on the payroll through September.
Travel hasn’t rebounded as quickly as hoped, however, as the US has failed to control the coronavirus outbreak. Travel restrictions remain in place to prevent more spread. Delta, United, American and Southwest lost USD 10 billion between them in the second quarter.