United Urges Government To Support Airlines Before Its Too Late

United Airlines’ leadership has sent a letter out to its employees to help it seek assistance from the federal government amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chicago-based carrier said the situation could become extremely dire if authorities don’t provide support by the end of March.

United plane runway getty images
United faces a tough test ahead. Photo: Getty Images

A joint effort

United CEO Oscar Munoz and chairman Scott Kirby wrote a joint letter with other key members of the board. The message was also co-signed by many of the airline’s labor union partners. The group said that even though the White House realizes the severity of the circumstances for the aviation industry, time is running out.

Even cutting corporate salary in half and reducing Munoz and Kirby’s pay to zero is nowhere near enough to save turn the situation around. Especially since the flight bans have caused even more cost-cutting measures to be considered.

United Airlines Fleet
United isn’t the only airline that is under pressure this spring. Photo: Getty Images

Action needed

If Congress doesn’t act on the reported support by the end of the month, United will have to reduce its payroll in line with the 60% schedule reduction it announced for April. Thereafter, May’s schedule is likely to be cut even more. Therefore, it has called on its employees to come together and petition the government for assistance.

“Your voice matters – whether you work on the ramp, greet customers in the lobby, take calls in our contact centers, prepare food for passengers, service our planes or fly on our aircraft –  our representatives in government need to understand what’s at stake if they do not act.” United’s leadership said in the letter.

“Please consider sending a letter or email to your representatives in Washington, D.C. urging them to take quick, bipartisan action to protect airline jobs,”

The company said that there is also one other way that its employees can help. It said that thousands of its staff members have applied for a company-offered leave of absence (COLA), which is an important way to help reduce costs. As the firm continues to make reductions to its schedule, it will still offer additional COLA opportunities. Therefore, it suggests applying if anyone applicable hasn’t done so yet.

United Airlines Pilots
United is hoping its employees can make a difference when it comes to government support. Photo: Getty Images

Standing together

United signed the letter off by stating how any little bit of assistance will go a long way as the airline market has been one of the most affected industries by the outbreak. The operator reminded the value that its employees have in helping the US economy and urges them to communicate with the federal government if it does not act.

Altogether, it is such a tough time for several economies across the entire world. However, the airline industry has largely been made redundant for at least a month. There will no doubt also be further implications for the rest of this year.

There needs to be a balanced approach once governments have a better understanding of how to handle the coronavirus outbreak. So many people rely on air travel for personal and business purposes. Therefore, more proactive solutions need to be placed when it comes to the aviation industry in the next few months.

What are your thoughts on United’s approach to getting the government to take action? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.