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US’s United Airlines To Cull 16,370 Jobs Due To Pandemic Impact

US’s United Airlines To Cull 16,370 Jobs Due To Pandemic Impact
After the furlough support scheme of the United States government expires on October 1, United Airlines will be furloughing a total of 16,370 of its workers because of the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic which has devastated the global airline industry. The airline made this announcement on Wednesday.
Prior to the industry being brought to a grinding halt in March because of the pandemic which originated in China, the Chicago-based United had a total of more than 90,000 employees. The company issued a warning in July about the possibility of 36,000 jobs being at risk of involuntary furloughs because of near tanking of demand for air travel.
Agreement to accept in early retirement or departure packages has already been given by about 7,400 employees of the airline and the company is currently trying to push through a number of other voluntary temporary leave programs to further cut down on the number of furloughs, according to an official of United Airline.
They said that flexibility to call back staff once travel returns would available for the company because of the leaves.
In March, US airlines were given $25 billion in US government stimulus funds to support payrolls and protect jobs till September – hen the industry was hopeful of a rebound in ir travel demand.
US airlines and unions have lobbied Washington for another $25 billion as the stimulus money from the US government started to run out and there was scant recovery of the industry. But those talks churned out no result as Congress struggled to reach agreement on a larger coronavirus assistance package.
With about 30 per cent of the plans of the US passenger airlines grounded for lack of passenger demand, the airlines in the US are collectively making losses of more than $5 billion a month. Demand for air travel is still down by 70 per cent than normal for this time of the year on the average and those planes that are flying are only getting half-full.
United's schedule for September is 63% smaller than a year ago.
Even though United is holding negotiations with pilots to reduce the final number of job cuts, the planned culling of hobs by the airline is set to impact about 2,850 pilots, 6,920 flight attendants, 2,010 mechanics and 1,400 management and administrative positions, in addition to others.
An announcement of layoff of 19,000 workers if there was no federal aid was made last week by United’s rival American Airlines. The airline said that it will shrink its workforce by about 30 per cent through additional layoffs in the form of voluntary departures or leaves. Prior to the pandemic the company had a total of 140,000 staff members.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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