United Airlines To Expand, Buying 270 New Planes

United Airlines announced that it has ordered 270 new aircraft for domestic travelers. Since the pandemic, there has been a rebound of domestic travelers instead of international travelers. As a result, United Airlines will be replacing the older aircraft, improve seatback entertainment, and space for carry-on bags with new aircraft features.

According to United Airlines, this is the “the largest combined order in the airline’s history and the biggest by an individual carrier in the last decade,” and “The ‘United Next’ plan will have a transformational effect on the customer experience and is expected to increase the total number of available seats per domestic departure by almost 30%, significantly lower carbon emissions per seat and create tens of thousands of quality, unionized jobs by 2026, all efforts that will have a positive, ripple effect across the broader U.S. economy.”

“Our United Next vision will revolutionize the experience of flying United as we accelerate our business to meet a resurgence in air travel,” said United CEO Scott Kirby. “By adding and upgrading this many aircraft so quickly with our new signature interiors, we’ll combine friendly, helpful service with the best experience in the sky, all across our premier global network. At the same time, this move underscores the critical role United plays in fueling the broader U.S. economy – we expect the addition of these new aircraft will have a significant economic impact on the communities we serve in terms of job creation, traveler spending, and commerce.”

United Airlines received $54 billion in federal aids, and most of them were grants. The government gave aids to US-based Airlines in exchange for not cutting jobs or pay rates, though thousands of workers received furlough notice from the companies and received cut pay rates for certain periods of time.

For example, while American Airlines furloughed almost 20% of its workers, it also paid out $1.4 million bonuses for the CEO last year, drawing criticism.

However, many airline employees chose to move onto other jobs, and now, airlines are struggling to fill their rosters, although United is hiring again for the new aircraft operations in its 7 hubs. According to United Airlines, at least 25,000 jobs will be created with new aircraft orders. Currently, the airline supports about 68,000 union jobs, and 89% of jobs are mostly the airline’s total domestic workforce. Some of this hiring will be done at D.C.’s Dulles Airport hub.

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