“I am proud of our pilots for showing the unity and resolve needed in the face of uncertainty,” said Capt. Todd Insler, chairman of the United Air Line Pilots Association master executive council, after United Airlines’ pilots agreed to a deal that will keep 2,800 of them employed should the US Congress fail to extend a paycheck support program.

The Pandemic Recovery Agreement prevents any pilot from being laid-off until June of 2021. However, pilots will work fewer hours and make less money. Pilots over the age of 50 who have worked for more than 10 years will have the opportunity to retire early.

United has received $5 billion in government support since March.

For a report on restoring the US pilot pipeline, check out The Next Pilot Shortage

If Congress fails to act by 1 October, more than 33,000 front-line workers will lose their jobs, despite efforts to convince lawmakers to extend financial aid.

More than 1,600 pilots at American Airlines face the prospect of being furloughed on October 1. Delta Air Lines reached agreement with its pilots to keep them in work until November 1.

American Airlines Chief Executive Doug Parker said, “Once we furlough those employees, it’s really hard to get pilots back in training. Our ability to continue to provide services needed to pull the economy back out of this is going to be severely hampered.”