Management cuts coming at United Airlines

United's first 777-300ER during a test flight; image courtesy of United Airlines
United's first 777-300ER during a test flight; image courtesy of United Airlines

The fourth quarter of 2016 saw many changes atop United Airlines‘ corporate structure. Those new C-suite executives are now preparing to reorganize their direct reports and Q1 ’17 will see significant changes – and reductions – in the management and administrative functions. The first of those changes are expected to be effected beginning next week. In a message sent to employees on Friday EVP HR Mike Bonds described the upcoming changes.

Over the past few weeks, our officers have been creating an organizational design for their respective teams. The purpose of the reorganization has been to create team structures that are more agile, streamlined, less bureaucratic and more efficient. While this will allow us to be more productive as we continue to drive and deliver on our strategy, it also means we expect an overall reduction in our management and administrative team.

The selection for the direct reports of officers will be announced in mid-January, and directors will be placed in roles by the end of January. We will go reporting-layer by reporting-layer after that. We expect to complete this process by the end of the first quarter of 2017. This process will not require that every role be re-interviewed for, as was the case during the merger integration.

Exact numbers on the reduction in staff are unclear from the message but the overall goal is exceptionally clear: The company is looking to cull dead weight from the middle management ranks and those changes are coming soon.

The message also notes that the changes “won’t impact front-line employees. In fact, we’re investing more into our operation to support our mainline growth, and we expect hundreds of new aviation professionals to join the United family over the next few years.” Ultimately that means passengers should not notice much as a result of these changes. But the new era of Oscar Munoz management is still taking form and will be for some time yet.

Header photo: United’s first 777-300ER during a test flight; image courtesy of United Airlines

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Aunque la mona se vista de seda mona se queda. If only they could figure out how to provide consistent service. Forget excellent service. Just consistent service would be enough.

  2. If they want a list of people to cut, Please, please, please come to me. My department is full of dead weight bobble headed yes men. It’s a sad statement that if you want to eliminate 20 lbs. of fat chop of your head.

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