United Airlines CEO says vaccine mandate won’t impact operations

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imageStock Markets4 minutes ago (Sep 29, 2021 10:26AM ET)

(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A United Airlines passenger jet takes off with New York City as a backdrop, at Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey, U.S. December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

CHICAGO (Reuters) – United Airlines does not expect its vaccine mandate to impact the company’s operations, Chief Executive Scott Kirby (NYSE:KEX) told CNBC on Wednesday.

The comments came a day after the airline said it would start the process of firing 593 employees who failed to comply with its vaccination policy.

United said it has received requests for vaccine exemptions for religious or medical reasons from less than 3% of the airline’s 67,000 U.S. workforce.

The company had plans to put employees who received religious exemptions on temporary, unpaid personal leave from Oct. 2. Those plans, however, have been put on hold until Oct. 15 because of a lawsuit challenging the policy.

Kirby said the measures will affect only a “small percentage” of employees and are not expected to impact the airline’s operations.

“We have planned and prepared for this that we are now able to confidently run a strong operation,” he said.

United Airlines CEO says vaccine mandate won’t impact operations

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