United Airlines Requests Pilots to Take Unpaid Leave Due to Boeing’s Aircraft Delays

According to a note distributed to pilots, United Airlines has requested that pilots take unpaid leave next month, attributing the delay to Boeing’s tardy aircraft deliveries.

This highlights how Boeing’s production challenges and safety concerns are impeding the expansion plans of its customers.

The proposition follows a period where United and other airlines faced a shortage of pilots in the wake of increased demand after the travel downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Due to recent alterations in our Boeing deliveries, the anticipated block hours for United in 2024 have been significantly curtailed,” stated the United chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association, the union representing pilots, in a communication to its members on Friday.

“Although the delivery issues pertain to our 787 and 737 fleets, the repercussions will extend to other fleets as well.”

United Airlines Requests Pilots to Take Unpaid Leave Due to Boeing's Aircraft Delays
CEO Scott Kirby is vocal about Boeing’s issues, including recent incidents like a door plug malfunction on a Max 9.

United has confirmed the solicitation for voluntary unpaid leave. Last month, CNBC reported that the airline had announced a suspension in pilot recruitment for the spring due to delayed Boeing aircraft arrivals.

The union anticipates that United will extend the offer for additional time off “for the summer bid periods and potentially into the fall.”

United had originally been slated to receive 43 Boeing 737 Max 8 planes and 34 Max 9 models this year. However, as per a company filing in February, they now anticipate receiving 37 Max 8s and 19 Max 9s.

United Airlines Requests Pilots to Take Unpaid Leave Due to Boeing's Aircraft Delays
Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun announces departure amidst broader leadership shake-up, including board chairman and commercial airplanes unit head.

Moreover, their expectations for receiving 80 Max 10s this year and 71 next year have been adjusted.

The Max 10 model, which has not yet received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration, has been removed from the delivery schedule due to uncertainties surrounding its expected delivery timeline, as stated in the filing.

Scott Kirby, the CEO of United, has been particularly vocal about the production issues and delivery delays faced by Boeing.

This includes recent incidents such as the crisis arising from a door plug blowing out of a nearly new Boeing 737 Max 9 operated by an Alaska Airlines flight at an altitude of approximately 16,000 feet.

In response to these challenges, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun announced last week that he would step down at the end of the year as part of a broader leadership restructuring, which also involved the departure of the board chairman and the head of Boeing’s commercial airplanes unit.

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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