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United Airlines has announced a voluntary time-off program for its pilots in May due to a reduction in anticipated flight hours. The airline attributes the cutback to delays in aircraft deliveries from Boeing.

According to a spokesperson from the airline, the decision is a direct result of Boeing’s inability to deliver planes on time, which impacts United’s operation plans for 2024. In a statement, Boeing said, “We can confirm that due to the recent delays in Boeing deliveries, our forecasted block hours for 2024 have been reduced, and we are offering our pilots voluntary programs for the month of May to reduce excess staffing.” United declined to comment on whether pilots taking time off would be paid.

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This all comes after United’s CEO Scott Kirby has consistently criticized Boeing’s performance in the last year. In an interview, Kirby said, “They’re our biggest partner in the world. We need Boeing to succeed … but they’ve been having these consistent manufacturing challenges, and they need to take action together.”

Further complicating matters, a recent incident in which a door plug was lost from a Boeing 737 Max 9 jet during flight has led to regulatory scrutiny, significantly impacting United’s fleet. The grounding of these aircraft, alongside delays in the certification of the new Max 10 jets, which United has on order, has cost the airline billions of dollars.


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