United Only Has June Work For 12 Percent of Its Flight Attendants

Like every airline, United Airlines has been forced to cut back on its flight schedule due to the crush of the coronavirus pandemic on the demand for travel.

But in a startling report, the Chicago-based carrier is showing in black and white just how bad the situation is.

According to Reuters News Service, United management has told its staff that it will only have enough work for just 12 percent of its flight attendants during the month of June. That’s just 3,000 flight attendants out of a total of 25,000 the airline employs.

Flight attendants only get paid for the time they are in the air, although the $5 billion CARES Act stimulus package grant that United received from the government will help them pay flight attendants through Sept. 30. The government put that date in place as a restriction that airlines who accepted the grants could not lay off or furlough employees.

But as Reuters noted, United and other airlines have begun to share more details with employees about the dire nature of the business, while trying to match crews and fleets to an uncertain recovery.

“If you just look at a way in which our network is flying we’d need about 3,000 flight attendants to fly our schedule for June,” United’s managing director of inflight crew resourcing, Michael Sasse told staff last week, according to people who listened to an employee briefing call.

United President Scott Kirby told investors this month he intends to keep the flying schedule at around 10% of normal until demand recovers.

“But if demand remains significantly diminished on Oct. 1, we simply won’t be able to endure this crisis … without implementing some of the more difficult and painful actions,” said Kirby, who takes over as CEO next week.

And it’s not the only airline.

Delta Air Lines told its 14,500 pilots on Thursday that it expects to have 7,000 more pilots than it needs in the fall, according to a memo first reported by Reuters.

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