United Airlines has decided to lay off 16,370 employees from October 1, when Federal assistance to aviation companies expires. This decision was made against the background of a deep crisis caused by the pandemic, which continues to destroy the aviation industry, according to Reuters. The cuts at United will affect, among other things, 2,850 pilots, 6,920 flight attendants, 1,010 mechanics and 1,400 management and administrative staff, although negotiations with pilots to reduce the final number of layoffs are still ongoing.
United, whose office is located in Chicago, had more than 90,000 employees before the pandemic began, before an outbreak of the disease in the world and the United States caused an almost complete blockage of air traffic in March. In July, the company’s management warned that 36,000 employees are at risk of being forced to leave, as demand for air travel remains extremely low. According to United officials, about 7,400 employees have opted for early retirement or forced leave, and the company is working on several other voluntary temporary leave programs to further optimize staff.
In March, American airlines received $ 25 billion in incentive aid packages from the White house designed to offset wages and protect jobs. The deadline for these measures was set for the end of September, as the aviation industry hoped for a rapid recovery from the pandemic.
At the same time, when funds for financial assistance to save jobs in the United States are running out, and the restoration of air traffic is still not expected, airlines and unions are actively lobbying in Washington for an additional $ 25 billion in a new aid package. However, negotiations between carriers and politicians have stalled, as Congress has not yet reached an agreement with the White house to allocate a larger package of assistance for the coronavirus.
According to financial experts, American passenger airlines collectively lose more than $ 5 billion a month due to the fact that about a third of the fleet remains moored in air harbors. The demand for passenger transportation itself, as of the beginning of September, has decreased by about 70 percent, and on average, flying planes are now half full. United has 63 percent fewer flights scheduled for September than a year ago. President Donald trump said that his administration will help US airlines, but did not give any details about what measures will be taken.
American Airlines – competitors of United Airlines-last week said they would lay off 19,000 employees without Federal assistance. Taking into account forced vacations and layoffs, the number of 140,000 employees who were before the pandemic will be reduced by 30 percent. Delta Air Lines plans to lay off nearly two thousand pilots, but does not say how many jobs, including flight attendants and mechanics, are at risk of being cut.