United Airlines says 16,370 employees will be put on involuntary unpaid leave as CARES act expires at the end of September 2020, well short of the 36,000 it threatened to furlough previously.

Despite that, the amount of pilots to be furloughed – 2,850 – did not change from previous announcements made in late August.

An update came in an internal memo obtained by CNN business. The airline "cannot continue with staffing levels that significantly exceed the schedule," according to the document, as the carrier's September 2020 schedule was reduced to 63% compared to the same month in 2019. 

Currently, the plans are to furlough 6,920 flight attendants, 2,010 mechanics and 1,400 managers and administrators, in addition to 2,580 pilots.

According to the airline, the reduction in planned number of furloughs is in part thanks to 7,400 employees selecting early retirement or voluntary departure options. 

Despite bipartisan approval of extension of current payroll assistance program, it struggles to move forward through congress, even in the face of all major American airlines announcing yet-unseen job cuts and furloughs

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According to United Airlines executive Chairman Oscar Munoz, if airline industry in the United States wants to survive, it will have to cut its labour costs by half.