United Airlines (UA, Chicago O'Hare) has confirmed it has reached an agreement in principle with the Air Line Pilots Association that could save nearly 3,000 pilots from furloughs next month.

“We continue to try and reduce the number of involuntary furloughs at United and are happy we were able to reach an agreement in principle with ALPA that can potentially save pilot jobs,” the airline said in an email to ch-aviation. The airline has declined to comment on the details of the agreement.

ALPA’s United branch Chairperson, Todd Insler, told members in an email on September 9, 2020, the agreement in principle would keep pilots on board, and did not affect pay rates, scope concessions, or “unacceptable” work-rule changes.

United recently warned it would have to furlough 2,850 of its 13,000 pilots, along with more than 13,500 other employees, resulting from a steep decline in air travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 1,700 of those furloughs were scheduled to start on October 1, 2020, which is when United and other airlines that received US government Payroll Support Programme (PSP) funding can begin involuntary job cuts. The pilots' job losses would make them the second most affected worker group at United after flight attendants, where 6,920 positions are to be cut, according to US media reports.

The planned moves have prompted trade unions to call on the US Congress to extend the USD25 billion Payroll Support Programme.