PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – Almost 70 United Airlines employees at the Pittsburgh International Airport will be laid off in the fall.
United Airlines at the Pittsburgh airport filed a notice with the Department of Labor and Industry, saying 66 people would be affected by layoffs expected to be “temporary in nature due to COVID-19.”
There will also be 95 United Airlines workers at the Philadelphia International Airport affected by the layoffs.
Days ago, United Airlines warned 36,000 employees — nearly half its U.S. staff — they could be furloughed in October, the clearest signal yet of how deeply the virus pandemic is hurting the airline industry.
The outlook for a recovery in the airline industry has dimmed in just the past two weeks, as infection rates rise in much of the U.S. and some states impose new quarantine requirements on travelers.
Airlines say they must shrink to match falling travel demand. American Airlines executives have said they could have 20,000 more employees than the airline will need this fall.
United told employees Wednesday that not everyone who gets a layoff notice will be furloughed. The company said job losses could be reduced if enough employees accept buyouts or early retirement by a deadline next week.
The buyouts come at a price too, however. United said it would take a $300 million charge in the second quarter to cover voluntary departures so far. The company said it was unable to estimate the cost of workforce reductions for the rest of the year.
If every U.S. airline matched United’s worst-case scenario of furloughs, it could be extrapolated to about 240,000 lost jobs nationwide, given United’s share of the domestic market.
Helane Becker, an analyst for Cowen, predicted Wednesday that U.S. airlines will end 2020 with 150,000 to 200,000 fewer employees than they had at the end of 2019 — much bigger losses than she expected back in April.
The notices that United sent out are meant to comply with a law requiring employers warn workers at least 60 days before mass job cuts.
The furloughs could include up to 15,000 flight attendants, 11,000 customer service and gate agents, 5,500 maintenance workers and 2,250 pilots.
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