United Airlines Pilots To Take Unpaid Leave Over Boeing Delays

United Airlines pilots are being asked to take unpaid leave as the airline battles with delivery delays for new Boeing aircraft.

United Airlines is continuing to battle with the ongoing delays in acquiring new Boeing jets with, per Reuters, staff now being requested to take voluntary unpaid leave.

Pilots are at the centre of this latest development, which follows a United Airlines and relevant union memo.

United Airlines has been on course to enjoy significant growth across a multi-year period; however, it has, in recent months, been forced to adjust its outlook for several reasons. As a result, the airline predicts that growth will slow and it’ll now be overstaffed in some roles.

Voltunary periods away from the company are what the airline calls a last resort as it tries to address the subsequent problems it’ll begin facing from the excess staffing present.

United will offer unpaid time off for May or between chosen dates. The additional option is a blank schedule, which means trips can be picked up where required.

A fleet-wide Problem

United Airlines’ recent forecasts, comments, and memos have always highlighted the problems with the 737 MAX. These problems are usually related to the 737-10, which remains uncertified. However, internal problems also delay the delivery of regular approved MAX jets.

The airline warns that the most recent request for voluntary unpaid leave isn’t just limited to pilots responsible for the 737 MAX; the effects are also being felt with the 787, a popular widebody that the airline relies on heavily for its long-haul operations.

Persistent delays in acquiring aircraft on time are also forecasted to have a knock-on effect on other aircraft types in the fleet, thus significantly pressuring the airline across its short—and long-haul networks.

An Industry-wide Problem

United Airlines’ most recent memo has caught the attention of several leading news publications. However, they’re far from the only airline having to make drastic changes to cope.

Whether it be the slowing down of hiring new staff in specific fields relevant to the addition of new aircraft or the dramatic shift to the leasing market to cover for lost ground, airlines around the world impacted by these Boeing delivery delays are feeling it in more ways than one.

Boeing says it is in constant communication with its customers and will look to offer the best solution wherever possible. However, these solutions won’t rid the respective customer of its problems, especially as delays drag on from months into several years.

Daniel Fowkes
03 Apr 2024
· Aircraft 
· Airlines 

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