United Airlines slashes flying, freezes hiring on coronavirus-hit demand

CHICAGO (Reuters) – United Airlines Holdings Inc (UAL.O) announced on Wednesday it is cutting domestic, Canadian and international flying and implementing a series of cost-cutting measures, some of the most drastic actions by a U.S. airline to date in response to plummeting air travel demand due to the spreading coronavirus.

In a letter to employees, Chicago-based United said it was reducing U.S. and Canadian flights by 10% and international flying by 20% in the month of April and eyeing similar cuts in May.

In addition to a hiring freeze, the airline is delaying merit-based salary increases and offering employees the option of taking a voluntary unpaid leave of absence.

“In this uncertain environment, United, working closely with our labor leaders and the U.S. government, has never been better prepared to weather a crisis like this,” United CEO Oscar Munoz and President Scott Kirby said in the letter.

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