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United Airlines’ Pilots Reach Deal to Prevent 3,000 Furloughs

United Airlines’ (NASDAQ: UAL) pilots authorized a deal that will prevent furloughs planned to take place next month, according to the company. The cost-cutting agreement is one of the most recent throughout the pandemic to take place between an airline and a large labor group. 

Earlier this month, the airline had announced that it would be furloughing 2,850 pilots, beginning Oct. 1, when the USD25 Billion federal aid expired. However, it was able to negotiate with the pilots’ union to scale down hours and keep pay rates, which union members later accepted.

Nevertheless, the airline expects to lay off over 13,000 employees commencing next month. Similarly, American Airlines plans to cut 19,000 jobs. However most are careful when it comes to furloughing pilots as their training is a long and expensive process. 

“While we still face a difficult path to recovery, your support of this creative and unique agreement puts us in an unparalleled position of strength when demand recovers,” United’s senior vice president of flight operations, Bryan Quigley, wrote in a staff note Monday. “In addition to avoiding furloughs, this agreement greatly enhances our ability to bounce back – so we can welcome more passengers and return to the 2019 levels of seat and fleet advancement more quickly.”

As the pandemic surges, many labor unions and top airline executives ask lawmakers for an additional USD25 Billion in aid in order to sustain jobs until March of 2021. Although the added aid has gained support from Congress and President Donald Trump, lawmakers have yet to agree on a new national coronavirus stimulus package.