DALLAS – Chicago-based United Airlines (UA) has revealed that, for the first time in nearly 20 years, it will create two new pilot bases next spring. The move comes despite the airline being in the midst of a pay row with its flight crews.
From May 2023, UA will open a new crew base at Las Vegas Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) and Orlando International Airport (MCO). LAS will have 204 pilot positions and MCO 300. There is also the potential for MCO pilots to ‘co-terminal’ with colleagues based at nearby Tampa International (TPA).
Boeing 737 Bases
According to the airline, Florida and Nevada have the largest number of UA pilots outside of its existing bases. The new flight crew stations will eliminate the commuting need for many crew members. Currently, United has nine pilot bases at Chicago (ORD), Cleveland (CLE), Denver (DEN), Guam (GUM), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO), and Washington, D.C. (IAD).
Both LAS and MCO will exclusively operate the Boeing 737. Currently, UA has 389 in service made up of the 737-700/800/900 and -900ER, plus the -8 and -9. It has a further 353 airframes on order, including the 737-10, for which it is the launch customer.
In November, over 9,000 of the airlines pilots voted to reject a tentative pay offer announced in June. The deal was praised by the United master council of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), who, at the time, described it as raising “the bar for all airline pilots.” However, UA flight crews claimed the offer was too low. It led to pilot pickets at several UA hubs for the first time in almost ten years.
Featured Image: Both bases will exclusively operate the Boeing 737. Photo: Adrian Nowakowski/Airways.