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United Airlines Reaches No Furlough Deal With Pilots Union, Reports

United Airlines Reaches No Furlough Deal With Pilots Union, Reports

United Airlines has reached a deal in principle with the union that represents nearly 13,000 pilots to avoid involuntary furloughs come October 1. As recently as last week, the Chicago-based airline warned that 2,850 pilots faced being put on indefinite furlough once federal payroll support ends at the end of this month.

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) has now told its members at United that a deal has been done but the terms must first be approved in a vote. Todd Isler, chairman of the United division of ALPA told members the deal would preserve jobs without the need for long-term concessions.

Photo by Blake Guidry on Unsplash

“Any potential mitigation must achieve our goals: stop planned furloughs, stop displacements, and include long-term permanent gains for any short-term, fully recoverable modifications,” Isler said in a note sent to pilots on Wednesday.

The news came on the same day that United said it would capacity still further after experiencing a slower than expected recovery in air travel demand. United was forced to reassess the estimated drop in third-quarter passenger revenues which is now expected to plummet by as much as 85 per cent.

The airline had previously estimated an 83 per cent drop in passenger revenue. Capacity is set to be cut by 70 per cent of pre-COVID levels, a drop of 5 per cent on United’s previous target.

Both ALPA and United have refused to publicly disclose the details of the no furlough agreement but the airline said it is continuing “to try and reduce the number of involuntary furloughs at United and are happy we were able to reach an agreement in principle with ALPA that can potentially save pilot jobs.”

United had previously warned of the potential for 36,000 involuntary furloughs across the company but has managed to reduce that number by more than half to around 16,000 furloughs and redundancies. The airline credited employees with taking up early-out packages and extended periods of unpaid leave for reducing the need for involuntary job losses.

As many as 1,941 pilots at Delta Air Lines face being furloughed on October 1 after the carrier failed to reach an agreement with ALPA. Pilots job losses are also expected at American Airlines despite a deal being agreed with the pilot union.

Southwest, Spirit and jetBlue have all reached deals with pilots to avoid furloughs until the end of 2020 at least.

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