American Airlines cuts could further affect the Caribbean


DALLAS – American Airlines’ decision to cut another eight per cent of its workforce could further affect the Caribbean, airline and tourism industry officials said.

America’s biggest airline announced last Wednesday that over 6,000 employees may be heading for the breadline as it tries to grapple with record high fuel costs.

The Dallas, Texas-based, airline notified its flight attendants union that it will cut up to 900 jobs, effective 31 Aug.

The airline also said it expects to cut about 6,800 jobs, including some at its sister airline, American Eagle.

American plans to cut domestic capacity 11 per cent to 12 per cent this fall.

Overall, including international flying, that translates to a pullback of about eight per cent, the airline said.

Jeffrey Brundage, senior vice president of personnel at American parent AMR Corp., said jobs reduced will “commensurate” with the overall eight per cent cut.

American Eagle also announced a reduction in its Caribbean schedule from 55 to 33 daily departures out of San Juan from 3 Sept.

American Eagle said it would eliminate daily flights from San Juan to Aruba, as well as to Samana in the Dominican Republic. Both destinations will continue to be served daily from Miami.

The airline said its 33 daily flights to a number of Caribbean destinations would now include Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Bonaire, Canouan, Dominica, Martinique, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Nevis, St. Croix, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Tortola and Trinidad.

As a result, Caribbean tourism ministers, who met in Antigua last Thursday, announced a plan to set up several committees to deal with four critical areas – marketing the region, financial guarantees for airlines, issues concerning regional carriers, and hubs.