UPS cited a continued need for "belt-tightening" in a gradually recovering economy but said it intends to find a solution with the pilots' union that would avert or mitigate the layoffs before they take effect.
UPS has been working with the Independent Pilots Association for the past year to identify ways to cut operating costs and avoid any pilot furloughs. It agreed not to furlough any pilots last year.
UPS said, however, that subsequent discussions failed to identify sufficient operating savings.If the plans go ahead, UPS said it will send notices starting in May and expects to furlough about 170 pilots during 2010. "Even though the economy has begun to turn around, UPS anticipates a very gradual recovery and a continued need for belt-tightening," said UPS Airlines President Bob Lekites. "This is a painful decision for our people, but one that is right for the on-going health of our business." UPS has been undergoing efforts to cut $1.4 billion in costs by freezing management salaries in 2009, suspending matching 401(k) plans, trimming capital expenditures, and retiring older aircraft. UPS shares rose slightly in after-hours trading Monday after falling more than 1% to $56.62 in the regular session.