DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines is notifying about 25,000 workers that their jobs could be eliminated in October because of plunging demand for air travel, adding to the toll that the virus pandemic is taking on the airline industry.
American’s top executives said Wednesday that the number of furloughs could be lower if enough workers take buyouts or accept partially paid leave for up to two years.
The airline’s two top officials said they thought American might avoid furloughs because they believed demand for air travel would “steadily rebound” by Oct. 1 as the virus outbreak weakened.
“That unfortunately has not been the case,” CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom said in a memo to employees. ”And with infection rates increasing and several states reestablishing quarantine restrictions, demand for air travel is slowing again.”
Air travel plunged 95% from early March to mid-April, then grew slowly until leveling off in July as virus cases surged in the South and Southwest.
U.S. airlines accepted up to $25 billion in federal aid to help cover payroll costs in exchange for not cutting jobs until October. American received $5.8 billion in cash and loans, Delta got $5.4 billion and United Airlines received $5 billion. The aid likely only delayed massive job cuts throughout the airline industry.
Last week, United told 36,000 employees that they could lose their jobs in October. Delta has sent notices to more than 2,000 pilots.