United says it’s losing millions from unvaccinated pilots

Morning In America

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — United Airlines says its unvaccinated pilots are costing the company nearly $1.5 million every two weeks while on paid leave, according to a new report.

The airline was forced to put the pilots on paid leave because colleagues refused “to risk their safety” by flying with unvaccinated coworkers, Bloomberg first reported.

United Airlines originally planned to put unvaccinated employees on unpaid leave. But last month, a federal judge ordered United to not place unvaccinated employees on unpaid leave if they are seeking a medical or religious exemption from mandatory vaccination. The order is in effect until Nov. 8.

The airline is unlikely to recoup the lost funds, Bloomberg reports.

Travel journalist Peter Greenberg says this is likely to affect all aspects of air travel going into the busiest travel season of the year.

“This is just the beginning of a number of battles being fought by airlines and pilots and other employees and federal agencies over their own vaccine mandates, which are going to go throughout the rest of the year,” Greenberg said on “Morning in America.” “And that’s what’s really worrying people a lot because you have a perfect storm about to happen.”

United CEO Scott Kirby said earlier this month that 99.7 percent of employees have been vaccinated.

“You know I wish we would have gotten to 100 percent, but out of our 67,000 U.S. employees there are 232 who haven’t been vaccinated and they are going through the termination process now,” Kirby said during a CBS appearance.

United Airlines was the first major U.S. carrier to announce a vaccination requirement in August.

Not sure how to find us? Here’s how to watch NewsNation on TV and online.

This comes as Southwest Airlines last week dropped a plan to put unvaccinated staff on unpaid leave if they haven’t received religious or medical exemption starting in December.

Southwest issued a statement to NewsNation confirming that if an exemption request had not been approved by the Dec. 8 deadline, employees could continue to work while following COVID-19 guidelines.

Southwest had announced earlier this month that its employees must be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8 to keep their jobs.

This comes after President Joe Biden announced his vaccine mandate order for federal contractors and large employers in September. All employers with 100+ employees must either mandate vaccines or test weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans.

Travel journalist Peter Greenberg spoke with NewsNation’s Adrienne Bankert on “Morning in America“. You can watch the full interview above.

The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate WGN contributed to this report.

Latest News

© 1998 - 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. | All Rights Reserved.

Trending on NewsNationNow.com