A lot of airline employees lost their jobs during the pandemic. Due to lockdowns, airlines had no other choice but to ask employees to take unpaid leaves and even early retirement packages. The good news is that the airline industry is now slowly making a comeback. With the number of air travelers closer to 2019’s level in recent months, United is confident that flight attendants don’t have to worry about their jobs despite the end of the federal COVID19 aid this fall.
United Airlines announced last Friday that flight attendants’ jobs are safe thanks to the recent surge in travel demand. There are roughly 23,000 flight attendants working for United.
According to United’s senior vice president of inflight services John Slater, “Given the increase in customer demand and our current outlook for the future, we’re excited to announce that we will not need to furlough flight attendants assigned to active, open inflight bases again this fall”.
Payroll Support Program
The Payroll Support Program (PSP) ends on October 1. The PSP1 was a component of the CARES Act that provided $32 billion federal aid to the struggling airline industry during the peak of the pandemic last year. It was designed to cover employee wages, salaries, and benefits. On December 27, 2020, lawmakers approved the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act responsible for providing an additional $16 billion in federal financial assistance to the airline industry via the Payroll Support Program Extension (PSP2).
Vaccination Rates and Improved Travel Demand
United has a positive outlook especially with the rising vaccination rates in the US coupled with the declining infection rate. United is also set to add 480 flights for this month alone.
Slater added in his statement that “This news provides great relief to many of our flying partners who were facing an uncertain future”.
United has also been reportedly looking at an additional 5,000 pilots by 2030. United Airlines along with JP Morgan Chase will provide $1.2 million in scholarships for this year to train candidates for the position. The airline also recently announced that it is hiring vaccinated employees to meet the current travel demand.