United Airlines plans to furlough 16,000 workers, fewer than expected

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Wednesday, September 2, 2020
United Airlines plans to furlough 16,000 workers, fewer than expected
United Airlines initially warned in July that 36,000 workers could lose their jobs.

United Airlines plans to furlough about 16,000 employees in October as air travel continues to be hammered by the pandemic.

Still, that's fewer furloughs than United predicted in July, when it warned 36,000 employees that they could lose their jobs.

The number of furloughs is being reduced because thousands of United employees have taken early retirement, buyouts, or long-term leaves of absence.

The breakdown by group of affected workers is as follows:

Airport Operations 2,260

Catering Operations 320

Contact Centers 430

Flight Operations 2,850

Inflight Services 6,920

Management and Administrative 1,400

Network Operations Center (NOC) 180

Technical Operations 2,010

Total: 16,370

The involuntary furloughs would be postponed if Washington approves billions more in payroll aid to the nation's airlines.

United already got $5 billion, and that money came with a prohibition on furloughs or layoffs until Oct. 1.

Previously, the airline said it had taken numerous measures to cut spending and avoid layoffs, such as cutting executive pay and establishing hiring freezes.

United recently announced they were dropping change fees for passengers. Delta and American Airlines quickly followed suit. The moves come as United and other airlines try desperately to lure people back to flying despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. U.S. air travel has recovered modestly since April, but passenger traffic remains down about 70% from a year ago.

The video above is from previous reporting.