American Airlines to Furlough 19,000 Employees

US Airline

American Airlines said that it would be laying off 19,000 employees on Thursday. As there are no signs of further bailout plans from Washington.

The Chief Executive of American Airlines, Doug Parker says that he is ready to reverse the furloughs decision if they reach the bailout deal. 

Reducing Number of Employees

However, the airline had more than 140,000 employees before the coronavirus pandemic. But after the voluntary and involuntary furloughs, the number of employees will be below 100,000 in October.

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants represents 50,000 employees at companies including United Airlines. She said in a statement that other airlines were starting furloughs and were also ready to reverse course.

US airlines were urging the government for another $25 billion in payroll support. So the airline does not have to cut jobs for a further six months. As the current package which banned furloughs is expiring on October 1. The coronavirus pandemic has caused the travel industry to be at a halt around the world.

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said talks with House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi had made progress on a bipartisan aid plan. However, they were not able to reach a deal and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief proposal “outlandish.”

Furloughs at United Airlines

Whereas, United plans to furlough at least 12,000 employees but has not confirmed it yet.

Parker said Mnuchin told him that he and Pelosi were continuing to negotiate on a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package. That would include an extension of aid for airlines and could reach an agreement in the coming days.

“Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that any of these efforts will come to fruition,” he told employees.

Cracking A Deal

Nick Calio, who heads the airline trade group Airlines for America, said earlier that the industry was still pursuing all potential avenues for new assistance as time runs short.

“People keep talking, but we need results,” Calio said. “We are hopeful but not confident about them reaching a deal on a larger bill.”

Weeks of intense airline lobbying has won over many but not all Washington lawmakers while drawing attention to the plight of other pandemic-hit industries as the crisis persists.

However, the airline has already asked thousands of employees to return their badges.

Moreover, airlines are operating at about 50 percent of their 2019 flying schedules. And there is a 68 percent decline in passenger numbers causing major suffering for the airline industry.

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