United Airlines said on Wednesday it was preparing to send notices of potential furloughs to 36,000 U.S.-based frontline employees, or about 45% of staff, as demand hit by the coronavirus pandemic struggles to recover.
The final number of furloughs, which would be effective starting Oct. 1, will depend on how demand evolves and how many employees accept early exit packages and temporary leaves, United executives said
The effective date would be October 1, when a government-imposed ban on forced job cuts by airlines that accepted billions of dollars in federal payroll aid expires.
“The United Airlines projected furlough numbers are a gut punch, but they are also the most honest assessment we’ve seen on the state of the industry,” Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) President Sara Nelson said in a statement.
The furlough warnings vary by work group, with about 15,000 of the total roughly 25,000 flight attendants set to receive notifications, United said