United Airlines (NASDAQ: UAL) has warned that they could furlough as many as 36,000 members of staff.
As a consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic, the airline said on Thursday that they planned to cut almost half of their global workforce as demand for travel remains weak.
Of the 36,000 members of staff who are expected to be furloughed, 15,000 of these will be flight attendants, 11,000 customer service employees, 5,500 maintenance employees, and 2,250 pilots.
The airline told employees: “The reality is that United simply cannot continue at our current payroll level past Oct. 1 in an environment where travel demand is so depressed. And involuntary furloughs come as a last resort, after months of companywide cost-cutting and capital raising.”
The sector will come under many challenges following the Coronavirus pandemic, with global airlines expected to lose $84bn this year.
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA union said in response to the news from United Airlines: “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.”
The US airline industry has agreed not to cut jobs until 30 September, thanks to the $50bn (£40bn) offered by the US government to support the sector. Of this $50bn, United Airlines is receiving $5bn to protect staff until October.