United will not furlough active flight attendants and says it will welcome the ‘vast majority’ of staff back to work after COVID aid expires

United Airlines 2020
United Airlines employees help a passenger at LaGuardia Airport, Saturday, March 21, 2020, in New York, N.Y. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
  • United will welcome the “vast majority” of employees back to work due to travel resurgence.
  • CNBC reported that the airline would not furlough most active flight attendants.
  • “We continue to move closer to full frontline staffing levels,” a spokesperson told Insider.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

United Airlines will not furlough active flight attendants after federal COVID-19 aid expires, CNBC reported.

The airline sent an email to flight attendants announcing United will not furlough workers assigned to “active, open Inflight bases.” Airport operations workers and customer service agents received similar messages, according to emails obtained by CNBC.

A United spokesperson told Insider that the airline plans to welcome the “vast majority” of employees back to work after a multibillion dollar aid package, part of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act, expires on October 1, 2021.

“This news provides great relief to many of our flying partners who were facing an uncertain future,” the email read, per CNBC.

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In February, American and United Airlines said they would furlough 13,000 employees by April due to slow vaccine rollout at the time. Vaccinations have since picked up, with more than 64.4% of US adults having received at least one dose as of June 14.

In March, Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which gave airlines an additional $14 billion in payroll support for aviation workers. Unions representing pilots, flight attendants, and other aviation workers had previously lobbied for greater aid to prevent layoffs.

Biden’s relief plan extended the Payroll Support Program, which provided a fund used only for aviation worker pay and prohibited furloughs, according to the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. Airlines had warned the firms would layoff workers after the law expired.

United said a resurgence of customer demand due to rising vaccination rates in the US led to the decision not to furlough most workers.

“Given the current outlook for the future of United, we continue to move closer to full frontline staffing levels to support our operation,” the United spokesperson said in a statement.