United to slow pilot hiring due to Boeing certification, manufacturing delays

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United Airlines is temporarily pausing pilot hiring in the coming months due to new aircraft certification and manufacturing delays at Boeing. 

In a Thursday memo sent to pilots, Marc Champion, vice president of flight operations, and Kirk Limacher, vice president of flight operations, planning and development, said the airline will pause new hire classes in May and June. The company plans to resume those classes in July, given that “United Aviate and United Military Pilot Program participants remain a top hiring priority.” 

Still, the company plans to slow the pace of hiring in 2024.

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“As you know, United has hundreds of new planes on order and while we remain on a path to be the fastest growing airline in the industry, we just won’t grow as fast as we thought we would in 2024 due to continued delays at Boeing,” Champion and Limacher said in the memo seen by FOX Business. 

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United had contractual deliveries for 80 Max 10 planes this year, “but those aircraft aren’t even certified yet and it’s impossible to know when they will arrive,” they continued. 

According to the regulatory filing, the company doesn’t expect any Max 10 deliveries this year and is unable to accurately forecast its expectations due to the delay in the plane’s certification as the FAA further investigates the Alaska Airlines Max 9 incident. 

The FAA ramped up oversight of Boeing and its supplier Spirit AeroSystems, which included halting production expansion of the Max after a door plug blew out mid-flight on one of Alaska’s Max 9 jets in early January. 

The agency last week found multiple cases in which Boeing and Spirit allegedly failed to comply with manufacturing quality control requirements.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
UAL UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS INC. 44.12 +0.05 +0.11%
BA THE BOEING CO. 203.03 +2.03 +1.01%

United still says it’s “on track to be staffed and trained for the spring and summer seasons” since it hires in advance of its schedule needs. 

United Airlines Airbus A319 plane

So far, the carrier has added more than 450 pilots this year. It plans to have over 800 new hires by the end of April.

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