Continental to cut 500 jobs, close Tampa reservation center

Continental Airlines Inc.

Continental to cut 500 jobs, close Tampa reservation center

Continental Airlines Inc. on Wednesday confirmed that it will eliminate about 270 reservation agent positions in Houston as part of a round of layoffs that includes cutting 500 call center positions domestically.

In Houston, about 1,100 employees work at Continental’s call center in North Houston, and another 600 are based in Houston, but work remotely, according to Kelly Cripe, a spokeswoman for the airline. The airline employs 2,700 reservations agents domestically, she said.

Other cuts will be made in the Houston-based airline’s call centers in Salt Lake City, which will lose about 80 positions, and Tampa, Fla., which will lose about 100 jobs, Cripe said.

The airline also has eight call centers outside of the United States employing less than 500 people. They field calls originating in those countries.

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The 500 job cuts are only affecting the three domestic call centers, Cripe said, and will account for about 18.5 percent of the reservations department.

Continental (NYSE: CAL) also announced Wednesday that it will close the Tampa reservations center on July 19 due to lower call volume, a growing trend for travelers to book online and the weakened economy.

The closure of the Tampa reservation center will affect a total of 685 jobs, according to a WARN letter sent from Continental to Florida’s Agency for Workforce Innovation.

The remaining 585 affected Tampa employees will have the option of participating in a work-from-home or “remote agent” program, taking a leave of absence or transferring to positions at the airline’s reservations centers in Salt Lake City and at Continental’s corporate headquarters in Houston.

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