United to axe 950 pilots

United Airlines is cutting the jobs of 950 pilots, about 14% of its total, as part of its measures to cope with spiralling fuel costs.
The redundancies come on top of existing plans to cut 1,600 positions from its workforce.Earlier this month, United said it would ground 100 planes, leading to a 17%-18% cut in domestic capacity and a 4-5% reduction in international capacity.
“As we take actions to enable United to compete in an environment of record fuel prices, we must take the difficult but necessary step to reduce the number of people we have to run our business,” it said in a statement.
The announcement makes United the first major U.S. carrier to make layoffs as a result of the current oil crisis. Other airlines, including Delta, Northwest and American, have begun eliminating jobs through voluntary means but have yet to announce layoffs.
United’s fleet will shrink from 460 now to 360 by the end of 2009 with the retirement of 96 Boeing 737s and six Boeing 747s. No new planes are scheduled for delivery.