American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL) has announced plans to cut about 19,000 employees in October when the US federal aid expires, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the travel and tourism industry.
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom announced the layoff news to employees on Tuesday. “Today is the hardest message we have had to share so far – the announcement of involuntary staffing reductions effective Oct. 1,” the executives said in a memo.
“As you all know, the Payroll Support Program (PSP) of the CARES Act protected our team against involuntary separations through Sept. 30. It also ensured that we and other airlines continued to serve each of the markets we flew prior to the crisis. It was an incredibly effective piece of legislation. By providing airlines the funds to pay much of our team member salaries and benefits, it ensured the commercial airline industry kept flying in the face of very low demand for air travel and kept our country moving, with all markets continuing to receive safe and efficient commercial air service.”
American Airlines’ workforce will shrink by at least 40,000, including 19,000 involuntary cuts, in October than the company entered this pandemic, unless the government extends aid for airline employee payrolls.
The company said that more than 12,500 of employees voluntary decided to leave the company permanently through early out programs or retirement. Another 11,000 team members have offered to be on a leave of absence in October.
In June, American Airlines had warned around 25,000 employees, which is about 20% of its total workforce, about possibility of furloughs.
The job cuts include 1,600 pilots, 8,100 flight attendants, 2,225 fleet service and 1,275 passenger service.
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