United Airlines will reduce pilot hires for the year and is pausing new hire classes between May and June 2024 due to the delays in delivering new Boeing aircraft, the airline revealed in a memo to staff. 

The airline said it was on track to have hired more than 800 pilots by May and would have enough to cover the spring and summer travel seasons. However, it said it was slowing the pace of hires for this year with the 80 737 MAX 10 aircraft it was expecting in 2024 still looking far from delivery. 

United’s memo comes shortly after CEO Scott Kirby expressed doubt about the company’s order of the model, saying the airline was now working on an alternative plan for the future that did not involve the 277 MAX 10s it has on order. 

Kirby’s comments came amid the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) grounding of some MAX 9 aircraft in the US after an incident involving a door plug blowout on an Alaska Airlines flight using the model, with Kirby describing the groundings as “the straw that broke the camel’s back”. 

Alongside mounting criticism over Boeing’s safety culture and quality control from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the company has also confirmed delays to the delivery of some new 737 aircraft and has yet to finish certification of the 737 MAX 10 model. 

The manufacturer has also paused expansion of its 737 MAX programme, and been restricted by the FAA, as it looks to address the issues discovered by multiple reports, including the NTSB’s discovery that the aircraft involved in the Alaska Airlines incident was likely missing key safety bolts when it left a Boeing factory. 

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

As a result, United has also reportedly been working with the company on converting some of its MAX 10 orders to MAX 8 or MAX 9 aircraft, as well as holding discussions with Airbus on acquiring additional A321neo aircraft, according to Bloomberg

Despite slowing down its pilot hires, United has also announced a notable expansion of its international flights, with new non-stop routes between New York, US and Marrakesh, Morocco; Tokyo, Japan and Cebu, Philippines; and Houston, US and Medellin, Colombia. 

The airline also said it would increase flights to some of its existing destinations in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Portugal, as well as add four weekly flights between Los Angeles and Shanghai, China, after the US and Chinese governments agreed to increase flights between the countries.