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United Adds Nearly 150 New Flights to Winter Schedule

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Jul 14, 2021

United Airlines, the largest employer of Machinists and Aerospace Union Members in District 141, is adding nearly 150 flights to its winter schedule. 

As demand for travel continues to build, United Airlines is expecting the resurgence to continue for winter holiday travel and is planning ahead by increasing service to cities in the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. The airline will add nearly 150 flights to warm-weather destinations across the U.S and is increasing service to Latin beach and leisure markets by 30% compared to 2019. The airline will fly 137 more flights than it did in 2019 to places like Florida, California, Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada starting this November through next March.

Mike Klemm, the District President for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, praised the decision for its potential to increase job opportunities for union members, but cautioned that the airline needs to urgently address current staffing shortages. “We’re very happy to hear news about this new growth at United,” he said. “This means more jobs for our members, and that’s a good thing. At the same time, a lot of our members are worried that adding new flights might make staffing shortages worse,” he said. He pointed out that the new flights would begin operating in the winter, after the airline has had time to attract more new hires. Klemm also underscored the work that was going on to improve staffing, saying that union leadership had a solid commitment from United to hire additional workers faster.

“We’re working with United to develop incentive programs to attract more new hires to the airline right now,” he continued. Klemm was optimistic that more incentive programs would help to alleviate staffing shortages well before the new flights would begin.

In June, United announced plans to hire an additional 25,000 new employees over the next ten years. Additionally, the airline has committed to purchase nearly 500 new Boeing aircraft, built primarily by IAMAW Members in the Western Territory. After losing $7 million last year, CEO Scot Kirby announced separately that he expects the company to show a pre-tax earnings profit in July 2021.

“Celebrating the holidays with family and loved ones in 2020 was a challenge, and we know our customers are already eager to plan winter vacations and gatherings in person this year to make up for time that they lost,” said Ankit Gupta, vice president of network planning at United. “As pandemic restrictions ease, people are becoming more confident in planning travel further in advance, so we want to make sure to offer our customers as much choice as possible.”

The influx of returning customers, aircraft purchases, and new flights is good news for union members, who are preparing to update the historic agreement between United and the Machinists and Aerospace Union members employed at the airline.

Photo Credit: United Airlines

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