United Airlines to Reduce Flights, Ask Staff to Take Leaves Amidst Coronavirus Epidemic

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • On Wednesday, United Airlines announced that it would reduce 10% of U.S and Canada flights by April.
  • The airline company also intends to lessen international schedules by 20% in May.
  • Worldwide effects of the coronavirus were felt in almost all industries, especially the always in demand travel and tourism. 

Due to the concerns about the Coronavirus outbreak, United Airlines announced on Wednesday that it was to cut the number of flights by April,  temporarily stopped hiring, and asked employees to take unpaid vacation leaves.

The Coronavirus outbreak alert has already reached a global scale, and the demand for travel has reduced dramatically.

The American airline company was also set to lessen its international trips slated for April by 20%, while  U.S. and Canada flights will be by 10%.

On Wednesday, the company also said that some of its twin-aisle planes would be stationed for the time being.

United also said that they would cease to accept new hires, until at least June 30, but gave exceptions to jobs deemed critical to their operation.

Previously, CNBC reported that the Chicago based airline company had suspended the deployment of new pilots. On Tuesday, they also asked some pilots to take a month’s vacation but offered a pay with cut, and similarly told employees about reduced flights in Asia.

Amidst the 90,000 plus positive cases of COVID-19,  it is expected that other airlines will follow suit. The effect of the pandemic shocked the travel industry, something that they haven’t faced since the global financial meltdown from 2007-2008.

United CEO Oscar Munoz addressed his employees through a letter on Wednesday, saying that the company is hopeful the course of action will suffice, and they need to be flexible to move forward against the dynamic behavior of the outbreak.

After its announcement, United’s shares dropped but was able to recover later, and with 2% on the closing, and it was less than its competitors’ numbers in the period.

Meanwhile, airline companies worldwide had reduced flight services as COVID-19 discouraged people from traveling.

American companies like Target and Google have minimized personnel gatherings and opt to hold their important meetings via webcasts. Some of the annual conferences are also canceled or rescheduled until further notice.

Auto manufacturers such as Fiat Chrysler and Ford had moved to ban unnecessary travels of their employees.

Roger Phillips, the spokesperson of United pilot’s union of the Air Line Pilots Association, supports the company’s measure. He said that their major concern is not only the safety of the pilots but also the security of a long-term job.  Phillips praised the company, saying that the move was proactive against the travel demand reduction worldwide.

United FA Sara Nelson, President of the Association of Flight Attendants, said that while they believe the company is taking responsible safety measures for both the employees and passengers, the union is calling for greater flight attendant’s protection, at all carriers,  against the coronavirus.

Source: CNBC

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