United Parcel Service on Monday announced plans to furlough at least 300 pilots as the pace of the U.S. economic recovery necessitates further cost-cutting.

The furloughs would be implemented in phases, with the first 170 in May.

Even though the economy has begun to turn around, UPS anticipates a very gradual recovery and a continued need for belt-tightening, said UPS Airlines President Bob Lekites.

(Reporting by Helen Chernikoff; editing by Leslie Gevirtz)