United Airlines to Pilots: How About Some (Unpaid) Time Off?

Shortage of new Boeing planes is reportedly complicating things
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 2, 2024 2:00 AM CDT
United Airlines to Pilots: How About Some (Unpaid) Time Off?
FILE - Two United Airlines Boeing 737s are parked at the gate at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., July 7, 2022.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

United Airlines is asking its pilots to take time off in May because of delays in receiving new planes that the airline ordered from Boeing, which is struggling with production due to manufacturing problems, the AP reports. A United spokesperson said Monday that the offer is voluntary. "Due to the recent delays in Boeing deliveries, our forecasted (flight hours) have been reduced and we are offering our pilots voluntary programs for the month of May to reduce excess staffing," spokesperson Leslie Scott said. In a note to pilots obtained by the AP, United said it expects to make similar requests during the summer and possibly into the fall.

The Air Line Pilots Association said United is offering short-term leaves and unpaid time off, but they are not mandatory. Boeing declined to comment. United doesn't expect to get all the Boeing jetliners it ordered and was due to receive this year or next year. A month ago, United said it was contractually due 191 planes this year and 127 next year but expects to receive only 88 this year and 64 in 2025. Almost all of the shortfall consists of Boeing 737 Max planes, including a new, larger model. United had planned to begin flying 80 Max 10 jets this year. The Federal Aviation Administration has not yet certified the Max 10, however, and FAA approval is likely to be further delayed by increased scrutiny of Boeing since a panel blew out of an Alaska Airlines Max 9 in January.

(More United Airlines stories.)

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