United Airlines announces that it will be sending layoff notices to about 36,000 of its US employees. This will be nearly half of the airline’s US staff.
The company is estimating an overall cut down of 36,000 employees. However, this is the worst case that could happen. The company plans to reduce layoffs by offering early retirement to qualifying employees.
The staff that will Face Layoffs
The staff affected by this decision include 15,000 flight attendants, 11,000 customers service, and gate agents. Moreover, there will be 5,500 maintenance workers and 2,250 pilots. The airline will start implementing these layoffs as early as 1 October.
However, other than the staff cuts, United Airlines also plans to reduce its management and support staff by 1,300 starting from 1 October. Moreover, the airline will be reducing its international staff as well. United employs 95,000 people.
The layoffs at United are the latest in a long line of hits the industry has taken since the arrival of the coronavirus. There has been a decline in air travel by 95 percent since the beginning of March until the middle of April due to the pandemic.
But as the government was lifting travel restrictions air travel was recovering slowly. But the number of US air travelers is still low as compared to the same time last year. It is down by 70 percent.
Adding More Flights?
However, last week the airline announced that it is planning to add 25,000 more flights for August. But it is still considering its decision and said, “reduced demand to destinations experiencing increases in COVID-19 cases and/or new quarantine requirements or other restrictions on travel.”
United officials are predicting that the demand for air travel will remain low until “treatment and/or vaccine for Covid-19 is available”.
However, the airline also planned to add a flight to the European countries. Even though Europe had banned flights from the US in response to increasing COVID-19 cases around America.
But, still United was resuming several of its important routes to Europe. Flights from Chicago to Frankfurt and Brussels were set to restart next month.
It was also resuming flights from Newark to Brussels, Munich, and Zurich. Moreover, it Is resuming operations from San Francisco to London.
However, the airline was also planning to resume its flights from San Francisco to Shanghai on July 8. Therefore, making its first flight back to China since the pandemic outbreak.
Moreover, United plans to resume flights to Seoul, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore, too in August.
The airline is relaxing its cancellation policy. However, it will evaluate and cancel flights on a 60-day basis until the industry rebounds.
Adding to United’s woes, two of its largest hubs one at Chicago O’Hare Airport and second at Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey are in states that are requiring travelers from 15 states to self-quarantine for two weeks after they arrive.
United is one of the major US corporations that got funding through the Paycheck Protection Program the federal government enacted to help employers keep their staff during the pandemic.