United will cut up to 2,850 pilots without more federal aid

The airlines and their labor unions are lobbying for another $25 billion to help the companies cover payroll costs through next March.

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United Airlines planes are parked at Orlando International Airport, in a Tuesday, April 7, 2020

United Airlines plans to send furlough notices to 2,850 pilots.

AP file

United Airlines said Thursday it will furlough up to 2,850 pilots this fall unless the federal government provides more relief to help airlines cover their labor costs during a pandemic-fueled downturn in travel.

United’s figure is higher than the 1,941 pilots that Delta plans to furlough and the 1,600 targeted for termination at American.

The Chicago-based airline told pilots it will send furlough notices by U.S. mail in the next few days, with the cuts taking effect between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30.

The airlines and their labor unions are lobbying for another $25 billion to help the companies cover payroll costs for six more months, through next March. However, talks between the White House and congressional Democrats over a larger virus-relief measure have stalled.

Earlier this year, Washington set aside $50 billion in grants and loans for passenger airlines, including $25 billion to keep workers on the payroll through September.

Travel hasn’t rebounded as quickly as hoped, however, as the U.S. has failed to control the coronavirus outbreak. Travel restrictions remain in place to prevent more spread. Delta, United, American and Southwest lost $10 billion between them in the second quarter.

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