American Airlines announced Wednesday night that it would start furloughing 19,000 employees on Thursday.
CEO Doug Parker disclosed the number includes 8,000 recently notified flight attendants.
"You are all well aware that tomorrow, Oct. 1, the Payroll Support Program (PSP) under the CARES Act is set to expire. Despite enormous bipartisan support for an extension of the PSP, our elected officials have not been able to reach agreement on a COVID-19 relief package that would enable this extension. As a result, tomorrow, we will begin the difficult process of furloughing 19,000 of our hardworking and dedicated colleagues," Parker said in a letter to employees.
Parker added, "efforts to extend PSP are successful over the next few days, we will reverse our furlough processes and recall any impacted team members."
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“I’m tired, I’m stressed, I’m optimistic but you also start to kind of lose hope after a while,” said AA flight attendant Ian Lordi, who is based in Dallas.
Lordi spoke with NBCDFW via Zoom while waiting during a layover, with the upcoming flight possibly being among his last.
“I just texted a friend when I showed up to the airport and was like it is kind of hitting me today that when I get home from this trip tomorrow, I’m going to go home and that’s it,” said Lordi.
Dallas-based Southwest Airlines has said it does not plan to lay off any employees due to the large number who have opted for early retirement or voluntary leave.
But it is a much different story at American Airlines, where thousands of recently hired employees are facing imminent layoffs.
“I think that this is just not necessary because the government can make the right investments in the recovery of the country,” said AA pilot Ivan Rivera.
Rivera says AA Pilots will be furloughed based on seniority and it is a similar story for flight attendants.
“Every aspect of the job I just love, it is my calling, it is my career and it could all be over with,” said Lordi.
The president of the Transport Workers Union of America local in Southlake said 700 of his members face layoffs.
"When you put a face to it, it's heartbreaking," Greg Cosey said. "I'm optimistic as a human being. But as president of the local, I have to be very realistic and think, what are the next steps? We're dealing with people's lives."
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.