American Airlines’ top bosses warned employees Wednesday that they plan to cut 25,000 union jobs by October amid a huge drop in air travel because of the coronavirus.
CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom revealed the plan in an email to workers.
“We hate taking this step as we know the impact it has on our hardworking team members,” they said.
They added they hoped to eliminate a significant number of the positions through voluntary buyouts and not layoffs or furloughs.
The executives painted a bleak picture of the airline industry amid the coronavirus pandemic, noting revenue fell 80% in June compared to a year earlier.
The workforce reduction is planned by Oct. 1 when a massive infusion of cash from the federal government’s payroll support program expires.
“We know American will be smaller going forward and we must right-size all aspects of our airline to adjust to that new reality,” Parker and Isom said in the letter.
The airline detailed the cuts by jobs, including 2,500 pilots, 9,950 flight attendants and 3,200 maintenance workers.
The union president who represents mechanics and ground workers in Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio said his members are scared.
“We try to calm our members down,” Greg Cosey said. “Everybody has a lot of fears, a lot of anxiety that is associated with this. We’re obviously talking about people’s careers, we’re talking about families, their lives.”
Cosey said an agreement the Transport Workers Union signed with American Airlines protects members from layoffs.
Union representatives for pilots and flight attendants did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday night.
American Airlines is based in Fort Worth and has about 130,000 total employees.