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United Airlines Tells Pilots To Take Unpaid Leave Due To Delivery Delays

United Airlines Boeing 747 on runway

United Airlines has told its pilots to take unpaid leave next month due to delays in aircraft deliveries from Boeing. 

Boeing's customers say the firm’s production challenges and safety concerns affect their growth plans.

Like many carriers, United has been eager to recruit more pilots following the rebound in travel demand post-Covid-19 pandemic.

The United chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association, the pilots’ union, said: “Due to recent changes to our Boeing deliveries, the remaining 2024 forecast block hours for United have been significantly reduced.

“While the delivery issues surround our 787 and 737 fleets, the impact will affect other fleets as well.”

United Airlines has confirmed this request for voluntary time off, attributing it to the postponed arrivals of these essential aircraft. 

Last month, United announced a temporary halt in pilot recruitment due to these delays.

The pilots' union expects United may propose additional unpaid leave opportunities throughout the summer and possibly into the autumn to manage the shortfall in aircraft availability.

Boeing making fewer Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 planes

This issue stems from a reduced delivery schedule from Boeing, with United now expecting fewer Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 planes than originally planned for this year. 

The airline has also had to adjust its expectations for the Boeing Max 10 model, which is yet to receive certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), leading to its removal from the current delivery timetable.

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United's CEO, Scott Kirby, has openly criticized Boeing for these delivery delays, which include complications from recent safety incidents affecting the aviation industry

Other airlines, such as Southwest and Alaska Airlines, have also expressed dissatisfaction with Boeing's delivery schedules.

The uncertainty surrounding aircraft deliveries has prompted them to revise their financial forecasts and hiring plans for pilots and flight attendants.

Boeing has not commented on the issues

Boeing's CEO, Dave Calhoun, announced his departure at the end of the year in a significant leadership overhaul that included the exit of other top executives.

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