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Published on Thursday, July 9, 2020

United Airlines warns 36,000 jobs could be cut

United Airlines has laid out the stark reality of its financial plight as it navigates the Covid-19 crisis.

In a memo it warned employees up to 36,000 could be laid off.

Of these, 26,000 would be frontline roles like flight attendants and customer service and gate agents.

Any layoffs would begin after September 30 when payroll protection federal aid runs out.

Under the terms of that aid, jobs are protected until then.

United had been warning its employees for several weeks that job cuts are unavoidable from October.

"After months of aggressive cost-cutting and proactive capital-raising, today we updated employees about a topic we've always dreaded and the action that was always a last resort," the airline said.

United said it will know the exact figure by August, and hopes it is fewer than 36,000 as it continues to encourage more employees to take voluntary separation.

"The reality is that United simply cannot continue at our current payroll level past October 1 in an environment where travel demand is so depressed."

"Involuntary furloughs come as a last resort, after months of company-wide cost-cutting and capital-raising," it added.

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