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The airline giant warned of job cuts in the fall if demand does not pick up.
The CARES Act has allocated $5 billion in federal loans and grants to United, which the airline will use to pay workers until Sept. 30. As a condition of the aid, the airline may not lay employees off or reduce their pay until that date.
|UAL||UNITED AIRLINES HLDG.||28.89||-1.80||-5.87%|
While air travel is down around 90 percent, the Chicago-based airline is among the fleet of other major carriers that are scrambling to minimize a collective $10 billion monthly cash burn.
Southwest CEO Gary Kelly told FOX Business Thursday he will have to "radically restructure" the airline if travel demand does not improve dramatically by the fall.
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|AAL||AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC.||10.98||-1.00||-8.35%|
|DAL||DELTA AIR LINES INC.||25.66||-0.66||-2.51%|
"We've got $14 billion in cash, you can do the quick math in your head," Kelly told FOX Business' "Mornings With Maria." "Things have to improve here quickly or we run out of money, and if they don't improve after Sept. 30, we would have to radically restructure not just Southwest Airlines but the whole industry."
Airlines have been forced to cancel so many flights that the need for onboard staff has plunged.
"If you just look at a way in which our network is flying we'd need about 3,000 flight attendants to fly our schedule for June," United's managing director of inflight crew resourcing, Michael Sasse told staff last week on an employee briefing call, according to Reuters.
Sasse added that United does not want to make any cuts that are not needed and that the airline will try to get a better picture of demand as the situation evolves.
Delta Air Lines told its 14,500 pilots on Thursday that it expects to have 7,000 more than it needs in the fall, according to a memo first reported by Reuters.
U.S. airlines are spending more than $10 billion per month during COVID-19, even though most flights are averaging only a dozen customers and 50 percent of the active U.S. fleet has been grounded, industry trade group Airlines for America told Reuters. United currently has a burn rate of $40 million a day, signaling the need for drastic rearrangements in order to halve the amount in the fourth quarter, United President, Scott Kirby, said.
U.S. airlines have already made preemptive recommendations, including asking employees to voluntarily take unpaid leave or early retirement, in order to lessen the long-term damage. A union memo discloses that United is expected to announce voluntary separation options available for flight attendants later this month.
United did not respond to a request for comment.
FOX Business' Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.