American Airlines will cut 19,000 employees in October when federal aid that protected those jobs expires and as the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate travel demand, the carrier said Tuesday.
The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline, which employed more than 140,000 people in March, is prohibited from laying off workers through Sept. 30 under the terms of a $25 billion federal aid package set aside for carriers to weather the worst of the crisis. But demand has only modestly recovered, presenting a dire scenario for airlines. American said its fourth-quarter capacity will be half of the year-ago level and that international long-haul flights will be just 25% of its 2019 schedule.
“We have come to you many times throughout the pandemic, often with sobering updates on a world none of us could have imagined,” wrote American Airlines CEO Doug Parker and its president, Robert Isom, in a staff note announcing the cuts. “Today is the hardest message we have had to share so far – the announcement of involuntary staffing reductions effective Oct. 1.”
American said it expects to have 40,000 fewer employees in October compared with when the pandemic began, the carrier said. The involuntary cuts include furloughs of 17,500 union workers, including flight attendants, pilots and mechanics, and 1,500 administration and management jobs. (Read more from “American Airlines to Cut 19,000 Jobs When Federal Aid Expires” HERE)