The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the largest pilots' union at United Airlines (UA, Chicago O'Hare), has approved two agreements with the airline in an effort to minimise the number of involuntary layoffs post September 30, 2020.

"United Airlines has notified 2,250 pilots they are at risk of furlough this year, with the likelihood of additional notices into next year... We have negotiated continued active employee health insurance benefits for furloughed pilots in conjunction with groundbreaking provisions that provide the option to remain qualified, allowing a faster recall once passenger demand returns," union chairman Todd Insler said in a statement.

The agreements cover extended voluntary furloughs and leaves of absence, as well as a voluntary separation initiative, which aim to find "as many volunteers as possible who are interested in stepping back from active flying".

ALPA has simultaneously appealed to the US Congress and President Trump to extend the payroll support programme under the CARES Act. Currently, airlines are only entitled to support - which entails a ban on involuntary layoffs - through the end of September. All major airlines have already indicated that if the programme is not extended, they will have to commence layoffs starting in October, from when they will no longer be forced to retain all staff.

United's warning to its pilots is on par with those sent by Delta Air Lines (DL, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) and American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) to their respective flying corps.