Boeing Delivery Delays Force United Airlines To Pause Pilot Hiring

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Summary

  • United Airlines pauses pilot recruitment due to ongoing Boeing delivery delays.
  • Fleet adjustments have been made by United Airlines as the carrier is set to receive fewer MAX planes than planned.
  • Despite the recruitment slowdown, the airline has just announced a series of new international routes.

United Airlines has revealed that it is temporarily suspending pilot recruitment, citing manufacturing delays at Boeing as one of the reasons. The airline will pause new hire pilot recruitment for May and June, with the process provisionally restarting in July.

Slowing the pace of pilot recruitment

United Airlines’ Vice President of Flight Operations, Marc Champion, and Vice President of Flight Operations Planning and Development, Kirk Limacher, issued a joint memo to colleagues this week to advise them of the carrier’s recruitment plans. As reported by CNBC News, the memo went on to say,

“We wanted to let you know that United will slow the pace of pilot hires this year due to continued new aircraft certification and manufacturing delays at Boeing.”

Following the pandemic, which saw large numbers of pilots take early retirement or redundancy, airlines across the US ramped up their recruitment drives to meet the sudden surge in demand for air travel. However, as demand now stabilizes, many are having to review their recruitment plans.

United Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9

Photo: The Global Guy | Shutterstock

The temporary grounding of the 737 MAX 9 earlier this year following the Alaska Airlines incident, coupled with ongoing delivery delays from the US manufacturer, has only exacerbated the problem – airlines understandably do not want to recruit and train pilots only for them to then have no aircraft to fly.

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The litigation is centered around “systemic problems” at the US-based planemaker.

United Airlines’ narrowbody fleet

This year, United Airlines had planned to take delivery of 43 Boeing 737 MAX 8s, 34 737 MAX 9s, and 80 737 MAX 10s. However, due to ongoing delivery delays, the carrier will now receive no 737 MAX 10s, and just 37 7373 MAX 8s and 19 737 MAX 9s in 2024, which in total is 101 aircraft less than what was originally planned for. As a result, the Star Alliance member has been forced to adjust its plans, and even plan for a fleet without the Boeing 737 MAX 10 entirely.

United Airlines Boeing 737 MAX

Photo: MKPhoto12 | Shutterstock

According to data from ch-aviation, United Airlines currently operates 85 Boeing 737 MAX 8s and 79 737 MAX 9s. This is in addition to the following aircraft, which also make up the carrier’s narrowbody fleet:

  • Boeing 737-700 x 40
  • Boeing 737-800 x 141
  • Boeing 737-900 x 12
  • Boeing 737-900ER x 136
  • Airbus A319 x 81
  • Airbus A320 x 91
  • Airbus A321neo x 6

Despite the upcoming slowdown in pilot recruitment, United Airlines has been busy expanding its international route network, including new routes to Marrakesh (RAK), Cebu (CEB), and Medellín (MDE), as well as strengthening existing services to the likes of Porto (OPO), Hong Kong (HKG), and Seoul (ICN).

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Network Expansion: United Airlines Adds Flights To Marrakesh, Cebu, & Medellin

This will mark Marrakesh’s first-ever direct connection to the United States.

What do you think of United Airlines’ decision to suspend pilot recruitment due to ongoing Boeing delivery delays? Let us know by commenting below.


  • N14106 United Airlines (Her Art Here-California Livery) Boeing 757-224 (1)

    United Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    UA/UAL

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Hub(s):
    Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Denver International Airport, Guam International Airport, Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport

    Year Founded:
    1931

    Alliance:
    Star Alliance

    CEO:
    Scott Kirby

    Country:
    United States

  • 787-8 Dreamliner

    Boeing

    Stock Code:
    BA

    Date Founded:
    1916-07-15

    CEO:
    Dave Calhoun

    Headquarters Location:
    Chicago, USA

    Key Product Lines:
    Boeing 737, Boeing 747, Boeing 757, Boeing 767, Boeing 777, Boeing 787

    Business Type:
    Planemaker



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