United warns nearly 3,000 pilots could be grounded by October

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In a memo to employees obtained by FOX Business, United Airlines has warned that up to 2,850 pilots will be involuntarily furloughed by October if Congress is unable to reach a deal on a new round of stimulus.

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"It’s important to note that our numbers are based on the current travel demand for the remainder of the year and our anticipated flying schedule, which continues to be fluid with the resurgence of COVID-19 in regions across the U.S.," United's senior vice president of operations, Bryan Quigley, wrote.

A United Airlines pilot wears a face mask as he walks to a gate at George Bush Intercontinental Airport Sunday, May 24, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Furlough notices will be mailed via United States Postal Service to affected pilots over the coming days, with effective dates ranging from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30, 2020.

WHITE HOUSE LOOKING AT EXECUTIVE ACTION TO HALT AIRLINE FURLOUGHS, LAYOFFS: MEADOWS

Quigley noted that United has been working to mitigate the need for furloughs by offering leaves of absence and voluntary separation packages, which more than 6,000 United employees opted for back in July.

"We have worked tirelessly for months to avoid involuntary furloughs and writing today’s messages is certainly not news I had ever hoped to share," Quigley said. "Please know that these decisions are made to help secure the long-term viability of our airline, and hope that in the future, we will be able to welcome back many of those that we have to say goodbye to this year."

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
UAL UNITED AIRLINES HLDG. 36.22 +1.97 +5.75%
DAL DELTA AIR LINES INC. 30.82 +0.87 +2.90%
AAL AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC. 13.28 +0.49 +3.87%

The job cuts are significantly higher than those announced by competitors Delta Airlines and American Airlines who said this week that they would furlough 1,941 pilots and about 1,600 pilots respectively.

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Airlines received $25 billion in federal aid back in March meant to cover payrolls and protect jobs through September. Under the terms of the first stimulus package passed by Congress, airlines are unable to make involuntary job cuts before October 1.

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