United, which already has hired 500 in N.J. this year, aims to bring on 1,500 more

Carrier, one of state’s largest employers, could surpass 15,000 employees here by end of year

Here’s the good news for the New Jersey economy: United Airlines, one of the state’s largest employers, has been hiring like crazy this year — approximately 500 employees — and it has hopes to hire 1,500 more by the end of the year.

It’s all part of a global, yearlong hiring surge in which the carrier is aiming to hire 30,000 people — to backfill jobs that were lost during the pandemic as well as prepare for the hundreds of new aircraft United has coming in the next decade. (See open jobs here.)

Here’s the not-so-good reality of the hiring — it’s not expected to have any impact on when flights are canceled due to crews timing out.

A United spokesperson said timing is not impacted by the total number of crews an airline has.

“Timing out is related to a crew duty time; that is, how long they have been on duty that day/night and how many segments they’re flying,” the person said. “It is a federal aviation regulation.”

That being said, it’s still good for the state to have United hiring.

The 500 or so hires break down this way:

  • More than 300 customer service agents, ramp crews and cargo handlers;
  • Approximately 40 flight attendants;
  • Approximately 150 maintenance techs;
  • A dozen corporate support associates.

United, which now has more than 14,000 employees in the state, intends to grow past 15,000 by the end of the year.

It is hopeful that it will meet its goal of 2,000 new employees in Newark.

Globally, the numbers obviously are much higher.

United officials, speaking on a media call Wednesday afternoon, said the airline has hired approximately 15,000 people so far in 2023 — and expects to add another 15,000 new employees by the end of the year.

The company has hosted more than 200 in-person and virtual hiring events for roles across the country — and will continue to do so.

Since May, United has hired more than 700 pilots and 1,100 flight attendants.

For the most part, finding people willing to work has not been an issue. Applications in the first half of the year were up 56% from the same time in 2022. Other numbers are even more impressive.

United officials said they have had nearly 37,000 applications for what will be 4,000 open flight attendant positions.

Other jobs — in certain areas — have not been as fortunate. In Denver, the airline has hired 450 residents of Guam to support ramp operations. And, while that may seem like an odd connection, it’s not as surprising as it may seem.

United has been operating in Guam for 55 years and is one of the most prominent U.S. companies with a presence on the island. United, which has more than 800 employees on Guam, is the primary link between Guam and the U.S. mainland.

Kate Gebo, the executive vice president of human resources and labor relations for United, said finding aircraft maintenance technicians has presented challenges.

The company, she said, has offered some sign-on bonuses (though not necessarily in Newark) and is sourcing tech schools, universities and the military.

Later this year, Gebo said the carrier is planning to launch a 36-month maintenance technician apprentice program.

Gebo said it’s all part of the airline’s current employee mission.

“We are in hiring mode right now,” she said.