United Airlines to slash 16,370 jobs as the pandemic is raging

United Airlines (UAL.O) is planning to furlough 16,370 employees as the coronavirus pandemic threatens to devastate the airline industry as federal assistance expires on Oct. 1, it said on Wednesday. Chicago-based United had more than 90,000 workers until the pandemic in March brought the business to a near stalemate. In July it warned that 36,000 workers are at risk of compulsory furloughs as demand remains poor.

Approximately 7,400 employees have opted to take early retirement or resignation packages and the organisation operates with several other voluntary temporary leave schemes to further minimise the number of furloughs, United officials stated. U.S. passenger airlines are now losing more than $5 billion a month collectively as 30 per cent of aircraft remain idle. The market for air travel is down about 70 percent and the total number of planes operating is half full.

Cuts from United will impact approximately 2,850 pilots, 6,920 flight attendants, 2,010 mechanics and 1,400 management and administrative roles, among others, while talks with pilots to minimise the final number continue. President Donald Trump said his administration would assist U.S. airlines but gave no specifics.