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United Airlines is still hiring, but it’s not adding workers as fast as it did the last 2 years

United Airlines officials say they expect to hire nearly 10,000 workers this year as U.S. air travel continues to grow, but the pace of hiring will be slower than in the previous two years partly because of delays in getting new planes from Boeing.

The airline will resume hiring pilots in July after it canceled pilot classes for May and June, Kate Gebo, United’s executive vice president of human resources, said Tuesday.

United discussed its hiring plans on the day that the government reported that U.S. job openings fell in April to the lowest level since 2021. The job market remains strong, however, despite high interest rates and signs that the economy is slowing.

Boeing has slowed production and deliveries of new planes since a door plug blew out of a Boeing 737 Max 9 during an Alaska Airlines flight in January, leaving United and other carriers with fewer new jets than they expected.

Gebo said United would have hired another 3,000 to 5,000 people this year if it had received all the Boeing jets it expected. The airline said it hired 16,000 people last year.

Gebo said the Chicago-based airline has received 260,000 job applications this year, including more than 40,000 applications for 300 internships.

United officials said they expect to hire 2,300 people this year in Chicago, 1,500 around its hub in Newark, New Jersey, about 1,300 in San Francisco and 900 in Houston.

The company did not immediately give a figure for how many people will leave the airline. Gebo said most of the 10,000 new jobs represent growth at the airline, but an undisclosed number will offset attrition, which she said is 5% to 7% in a normal year.

United officials said it needs the extra staffing to keep up with travel demand.

So far this year, the number of travelers at U.S. airport checkpoints is up about 6% compared with last year, according to Transportation Security Administration figures. The TSA recorded a single-day record on the Friday before Memorial Day and expects that mark to be broken several times over the summer.

By DAVID KOENIG
AP Airlines Writer

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