UNITED AIRLINES Job cuts and new pay structure proposed for attendants, pilots
United Airlines plans to thin its pilot and flight attendant ranks by up to 25 percent and propose a two-tier pay structure in a bid to cut costs and emerge from bankruptcy as a tougher competitor, sources say.
Those proposals are among the most controversial elements of the reorganization plan that Glenn Tilton, United's chief executive officer, will present Thursday to the troubled airline's board of directors.
Other elements of Tilton's plan call for the creation of a discount "point-to-point" airline, similar to the Shuttle by United that the airline launched in 1994 -- and that United shuttered seven years later after massive losses -- in a half-hearted attempt to copy Southwest Airlines' successful operation.
Pilots and flight attendants working for the new discount carrier would be paid significantly less than on the regular United flights.
The new discount carrier would operate, in part, from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. It is unclear what other cities the new airline will serve.
Due to the downsizing and additional flight contracting, United would need only about 6,000 pilots under the reorganization plan. It would also require remaining pilots to increase their flight time to an average of 50 hours each month from the current average of 36 hours.
In addition, sources said, United's plan calls for contracting more of the carrier's regional routes to its commuter partners, which would be permitted to fly larger 70-seat jets.