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Coronavirus causes United to curtail flights

The Chicago-based airline also is implementing a hiring freeze and postponing management raises.

United Airlines jets sit at gates at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.
United Airlines said Wednesday it is reducing flight schedules because of the coronavirus.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

United Airlines said Wednesday it will reduce its flight schedule beginning in April as it deals with lower demand due to the coronavirus.

The Chicago-based airline also said it will institute a hiring freeze through June 30 for all but essential positions and postpone scheduled salary increases for managers.

“We sincerely hope that these latest measures are enough, but the dynamic nature of this outbreak requires us to be nimble and flexible moving forward in how we respond,” company CEO Oscar Munoz and President Scott Kirby said in letter to employees.

It said the international schedule will be trimmed by 20% in April and the domestic schedule by 10%. The reductions are expected to continue in May, Munoz and Kirby said.

United is waiving change fees for any booking made March 3 through March 31.

Certain employees will be eligible for a voluntary unpaid leave of absence or a reduced schedule, United said.

The management raises will be delayed from April 1 until July 1, while raises spelled out in collective bargaining agreements will continue as scheduled.