Continuing its cutbacks planned for this fall, American Airlines Inc. has sent notices to 469 employees at five U.S. airports warning that they could lose their jobs around Nov. 1.
Hardest hit would be the workforce at American’s second-biggest hub, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, where 353 employees received the layoff notices. The company has also notified 53 airport employees in Los Angeles, 28 in San Francisco, 27 in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and eight in Columbus, Ohio.
Last Thursday, the carrier sent a letter to Transport Workers Union international vice president Dennis L. Burchette informing him that 379 TWU members could be laid off. The majority are fleet service clerks.
“It is quite clear that we can no longer operate our airline at its current levels,” wrote Mark Burdette, American’s vice president of employee relations.
“This reality has forced us to make some very tough, but immediate, decisions to secure American’s future. We must quickly reduce our operating schedule for the coming months, and as a result, will need fewer people to operate the airline,” he wrote in the letter.
The Fort Worth-based carrier announced several months ago that it intended to cut its overall capacity up to 8 percent, including an 11 percent to 12 percent reduction in its domestic routes.
The airline implemented the first big round of cutbacks Wednesday as American and regional partner American Eagle slashed flying at their San Juan, Puerto Rico, hub and elsewhere in their system. American also ended service to Oakland, Calif., and Barranquilla, Colombia.
But the bigger cuts will come in November when American and American Eagle trim flights throughout their system.
In related news, American has decided to give fleet service clerks another chance to volunteer to leave the airline under its “voluntary bridge to retirement program.”
The program gives eligible workers 50 years old or older with at least 15 years’ of service a special $12,500 severance payment, lower medical insurance payments for six months and other benefits.