United adding 1,000 jobs in local hiring binge

The carrier plans a career fair Wednesday at the United Center.

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After a drop in air travel, United is holding a job fair to find more workers this week.

Scott Olson/Getty

The hiring window is open at United Airlines as its ramps up for increased travel in the months ahead, provided that COVID cases continue to decline.

The airline said Monday it has hired 700 people for its Chicago-based operations and plans to add another 1,000. Spokeswoman Maddie King said it hopes to fill as many positions as it can at a career fair Wednesday.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the United Center, 1901 W. Madison St. Available jobs include ramp service employees, customer service agents, technicians, flight attendants and corporate roles. O’Hare Airport is a hub for United.

The airline severely curtailed service and executed several rounds of job cuts during the pandemic, but it has taken steps to prepare for an industry rebound. It bought 270 new Boeing and Airbus aircraft in what it said was the largest purchase by any carrier in the last decade, and also is bringing 52 grounded Boeing 777s back to service.

King said United this summer plans its largest expansion of transatlantic service, with flights from Chicago to Zurich starting April 23 and from Chicago to Milan starting May 6. Service to Reykjavik, Iceland, is expected to start later, she said.

Domestically, the airline expects to add more than 10 cities to the 170 it currently serves from O’Hare, she said.

The website for the hiring fair touts the airline’s benefits package, especially travel privileges. Employees can get unlimited standby travel and discounts on any United destination.

The airline said attendees will be eligible to win 2 round-trip United Economy tickets to any domestic destination. Everyone who shows up will get a coupon for 20% off a future United flight.

King said ramp workers can join out of high school and get up to $90,000 annually in wages and benefits. Technicians can earn up to $140,000 and flight attendants make up to $90,000 in pay and benefits, she said.

In its most recent earnings report, United said it expected its first quarter 2022 flying capacity would be down about 18% from the first quarter of 2019, before the pandemic. But the airline said it expected demand to improve gradually throughout the year.

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