How the move will affect its flights in Oklahoma City and Tulsa is unclear, but United Airlines is furloughing more than 16,000 workers, just weeks after American Airlines announced intentions to furlough or layoff 19,000 workers because of COVID-19 and what it did to the airline industry.
Furlough notices went out Wednesday to 16,370 United Airlines employees, company executives said, pointing to the pandemic’s devastating effects on travel demand.
The furloughs, affecting 1,349 workers in Houston, are to start Oct. 1. United said it planned to recall employees once travel demand rebounds.
The announcement comes as national leaders battle over what to include in a second round of coronavirus relief packages. The Chicago-based airline, which claims the largest market share of the Houston Airport System, said an extension of payroll support “would be the one thing” that would stave off involuntary furloughs through the end of the year.
American Airlines says it will lay off or involuntarily furlough 19,000 employees as of October 1 unless the airline industry gets more help from Congress.