Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

New York — American Airlines will cut 30% of its management and support staff, in its latest belt-tightening move during the prolonged Covid-19 downturn, the company disclosed on Thursday.

The big US carrier outlined a series of measures to reduce headcount throughout its operations, in an e-mail to staff that was released in a securities filing on Thursday.

American Airlines has a team of 17,000 people in management and support, meaning the actions planned will cut about 5,100 jobs.

The move follows statements from United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and other carriers that have signalled deep job cuts due to sinking air travel demand from the coronavirus shutdowns.

The company has established a voluntary departure programme for this staff, but “will have to take the difficult step of involuntary separations” if there are not enough volunteers, said Elise Eberwein, executive vice-president at American Airlines, in the memo.

Affected staff will remain on payroll through to the end of September. As part of a federal bailout under the CARES Act, major US carriers agreed to not undertake involuntary employee layoffs or furloughs through September 30.

American Airlines has already trimmed down somewhat, with almost 39,000 staff members taking voluntary leave or early retirement.

The company also plans to open a new voluntary downsizing programme in June for in-flight crews.

“As we have previously stated, our preferred outcome is to properly size our front-line team for the future without having to implement involuntary furloughs,” Eberwein said.

“This is a goal, though, not a commitment, and a stretch goal at that. We will be working with our unions in the weeks and months ahead in hopes of developing programs to facilitate that goal.”


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