Scott Gordon, NBC 5 News
The number of jobs American Airlines plans to cut -- 13,000 employees -- was larger than many had expected.
American Airlines parent company AMR Corp. said Wednesday it would cut 13,000 jobs and close its Fort Worth Alliance Airport maintenance hub as part of a five-year plan to save $3 billion per year.
NBC 5's Scott Friedman was the first to break the story early Wednesday morning that the Fort Worth-based airline would cut as many as 15,000 jobs nationwide.
Thomas Horton, Chairman and CEO, released a letter to employees Wednesday that highlighted the major changes designed to help the carrier emerge from bankruptcy a stronger airline.
Chief among those changes are staff reductions that are expected to save the company $1.25 billion annually and revenue enhancements worth another billion dollars. The remaining savings will come from altering route structures, capacity and replacing an aging fleet. The airline also hopes to boost revenue by increasing departures out of hubs in Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and New York by 20 percent over the next five years.
The 13,000 cuts include 1,400 management and support staff; 400 pilots; 2,300 flight attendants; 4,600 maintenance and related; and 4,200 fleet service and other TWU employees; NBC News confirmed early Wednesday afternoon.
No decision has been made on agents, representatives or planners.
"One of the most difficult outcomes of this process is our need to reduce the size of our workforce to better align with our streamlined and more efficient operations," said Jeff Brundage, American Airlines senior vice president for human resources. "The business plan and our proposals outline a total reduction of approximately 13,000 employees across our company."
In a letter to employees, Brundage went on to outline the changes necessary for long-term success, one of which was the outsourcing a portion of aircraft maintenance and the closure of its maintenance operation at Fort Worth's Alliance Airport.
Hillwood Properties said it would proceed with expansion plans for Alliance that were announced Tuesday. The airline only represents about 3 percent of Alliance's workforce, Hillwood Properties' president said Wednesday.
Brundage said AA would meet with representatives from the Allied Pilots Association, Association of Professional Flight Attendants and the Transport Workers Union to negotiate the changes.
News of the job cuts -- which were expected when the company entered bankruptcy -- did not sit well with the unions.
Laura Glading, president of the APFA, said in a statement issued Wednesday that the company's betrayal of the flight attendants continues as the airline pushes to reduce the number of flight attendants by thousands.
"The company’s proposal is even more extreme and despicable than we had anticipated ... Management has given us absolutely no credit for the concessions we made and continue to make and now they want another bailout," Glading said. "Frankly, they’re not entitled to it. Our aggressive negotiation strategy will remain unchanged, and we will pursue an early-out option to take care of any reduction."
APA spokesman Howie Schack said the airline has cut the number of pilots from 13,000 to 8,000 since 2001 and that the thought of losing another 400 was "disappointing."
On Wednesday, the airline said it would continue to share news and information about its restructuring efforts on a new website, Restructuringamr.com.
NBC 5's Scott Friedman, Scott Gordon, Ray Villeda and Ben Russell contributed to this report.
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