We're writing today with some really good news: the Administration and Congress have come together in a bipartisan way on a relief bill that includes several items, including an extension of the Payroll Support Program (PSP) for the airlines.
As you know, United has aggressively advocated for this extension for months and our airline has publicly supported similar efforts by our union partners. And we both have personally spoken to leaders in D.C. about the unique impact the crisis has had on our industry and the need for relief. Our appreciation goes out to all the elected officials who helped make this happen - we also know many of you lent your voices to the fight, so thank you as well.
So what does this mean for us? Well, to start, it means United intends to offer temporary employment to thousands of our team members who were impacted on September 30.
As you know, involuntary furloughs were always a last resort for us and we worked really hard over the summer - through cost-cutting, capital-raising, and partnering with our unions - to make the number of people who were ultimately impacted as small as possible.
Now, those employees who are eligible under the terms of the PSP extension can temporarily come back to United through March 2021. This is certainly good news for our economy, our industry, and our airline - but it's especially good news for those who have been without a paycheck, and we can't wait to welcome them back.
Importantly, though, we don't expect customer demand to change much between now and the end of the first quarter of 2021. United has been realistic about our outlook throughout the crisis, and we've tried to give you an honest assessment every step of the way. The truth is, we just don't see anything in the data that shows a huge difference in bookings over the next few months. That is why we expect the recall will be temporary.
But as we've said before, we do see the light at the end of the tunnel. The recent vaccine developments have been nothing short of extraordinary. And we're so proud of our team for playing an important role in the global distribution of those treatments. But even though vaccinations have started and there are millions of doses being distributed around the country, we're still months and months away from the majority of the population getting vaccinated.
There are still some details to work out before the PSP extension is finalized, and we expect that you will hear from your leaders over the next several days about what's next for your specific workgroup. And for those employees who will be returning to work, we'll continue to work closely with our union partners to make the process as easy as possible.
So let us end where we started - having our team members back working at United - even in some cases temporarily - is good news. The PSP extension will provide much needed relief for these team members and their families.
Thanks for all you continue to do to take care of our customers and one another.
Scott and Brett
United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter and Instagram or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Airlines Holdings, Inc., is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL".
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SOURCE United Airlines