United avoids flight attendant furloughs

January 9, 2009 12:53:33 PM PST
United Airlines now says it won't furlough 250 flight attendants after all.The nation's third-largest carrier avoided the furloughs because it needs more international flight attendants and will offer more special leaves, according to a Thursday memo to flight attendants from Alex Marren, United's senior vice president for onboard service.

Marren said Chicago-based United worked with the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA to avoid the furloughs.

Last year 1,550 United flight attendants volunteered for furloughs. United and other airlines have been cutting capacity as the economy has softened.

United also said on Friday that it would not need to involuntarily furlough as many as 205 ramp and customer service workers at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Enough ramp workers took voluntary furloughs to avoid involuntary furloughs, United spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said, and 43 customer service workers are shifting from full-time to part-time.

Shares of United parent UAL Corp. fell 40 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $12.37 in afternoon trading.

Also this week, feeder carrier Atlantic Southeast Airlines, a unit of St. George, Utah-based SkyWest Inc., notified its 1,750 pilots that it plans to furlough 80 of them next month. Delta Air Lines Inc. uses ASA for some of its connecting service. David Nieuwenhuis, head of the pilots union, said capacity cuts announced by Delta have resulted in less flying for ASA.

ASA spokesman Jarek Beem said the furloughs are in response to the economic recession, which has driven down demand for seats and forced capacity cuts.

SkyWest shares fell 83 cents, or 4.5 percent, to $17.73 in afternoon trading.


Load Comments