United Airlines (UAL.O) is preparing to hire 16,370 workers as the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate the airline industry as federal assistance expires on 1 October, it said on Wednesday. Chicago-based United had more than 90,000 employees before the March pandemic brought the company to a near standstill. In July, it warned that 36,000 employees are at risk of forced furloughs, as demand remains low.
Approximately 7,400 employees have opted for early retirement or resignation packages and the company works with many other optional temporary leave programmes to further reduce the number of furloughs, United officials said. U.S. passenger airlines are now losing more than $5 billion a month collectively, as 30% of the aircraft remain idle. The air travel demand is down about 70% and the total number of aircraft operating is half full.
Cuts from United States will affect approximately 2,850 pilots, 6,920 flight attendants, 2,010 mechanics and 1,400 management and administrative positions, among others, though negotiations with pilots will continue to reduce the final number. President Donald Trump said that his administration would assist U.S. airlines, but did not provide any details.