United Airlines will furlough 16,000 of its employees

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United Airlines on Wednesday said 16,000 of its employees face an involuntary furlough as early as next month, as the aviation industry continues to grapple with weak demand due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, United called the measure a “heart-wrenching” last resort.

The announcement comes as a federal aid package for airlines, which prohibits job and pay cuts, is due to expire at the end of September, according to Deutsche press agency (dpa).

Congress remains at a stalemate regarding a new coronavirus stimulus bill.

United hopes to see an extension to the payroll support program in any new legislation.

United had warned in July that 36,000 jobs were at risk, but the company said “tens of thousands” of its employees have opted for voluntary leave, early retirement and reduced hours programs.

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