Wednesday, June 04, 2008

United Airlines to eliminate Ted, reduce its fleet, and cut jobs

Ted A320 aircraftTake a look at that airplane in the photo at right. It will undergo some 'remodeling' very soon. United Airlines, which operates a fleet of 56 Airbus A320 aircraft as low-fare all-economy Ted flights, announced today that Ted will no longer exist after the end of 2009. The airline intends to reintegrate the aircraft into its mainline fleet, meaning that the 56 planes now flying in the Ted livery all will be repainted in the standard United livery, and will be reconfigured to include a First Class cabin.

That's not all. United also announced that it will retire six Boeing 747-400 aircraft, and all 94 of the Boeing 737 type, thus eliminating the oldest and least fuel-efficient aircraft from its fleet. Most of this fleet reduction will take place before the end of 2008, a move that will reduce the airline's mainline domestic capacity in the fourth quarter of 2008 by 14 percent, year over year.

Along with a reduction in the size of its fleet and a paring of flight frequencies on certain routes, the carrier announced that layoffs are forthcoming for well over 1,000 employees. A United Airlines press release issued today, June 4, 2008, included the following paragraph:
As United reduces the size of its operation, it is further reducing staff. United expects to reduce the number of salaried and management employees and contractors by 1,400-1,600, including the previously announced 500 employee reduction by year-end, and the company will determine the number of front-line employee furloughs as it finalizes the schedule over the next month.
In other words, no word yet on exactly which work groups will be affected, or when -- but the furloughs are coming.

United's announcement today parallels plans made public by American Airlines last month, when that airline revealed it would retire 40 to 45 mainline aircraft (mostly the MD-80 series), as well as 35 to 40 regional jets and some turbo-prop aircraft from American Eagle. American's capacity reduction also will result in job cuts that will affect thousands of American Airlines workers.

[Photo Source]