In addition to traveling leave during the pandemic, major US carriers have lost breathtaking business travelers as coronoviruses continue their deadly spread, with declining days counting for tens of thousands of aviation industry workers.
As Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian announced after the Atlanta-based carrier to have a record adjusted quarterly deficit of $ 2.8 billion last month, “I don’t think we’ll ever fully return to where we are in 2019 volumes.” But commercial traffic. ”
According to the company, about 17,000 employees, or 20% of Delta’s employees, were taking the company through a purchase package or early retirement last week.
Bastian wrote in a memo to employees that the cutback is “a difficult but necessary step to transition to a smaller, more agile airline that will be in a better position to withstand the crisis and recover quickly.” “We will be guided in the second half of the year by our goal to end our daily cash burn while improving customer satisfaction and building our loyalty while seeking loyalty.”
Other carriers, which burn through millions of cash daily, are informing employees that furloughs are likely to occur, with October 1 as a particularly dark day for the industry. This is in large part because airlines working on their payroll until September 30 will not have to repay the funds under the CARES Act, which includes about $ 50 billion in support from US Airlines.
About 25,000 front-line workers at American Airlines can be laid off on October 1. However, Texas-based carrier Fort Worth recently signed a deal with its 14,000-member pilot association to give more leaves and early retirement packages to limit the ensuing massacre. This extends to the deadline set for other workers until 12 August whether to take voluntary leave with reduced pay or early retirement.
United Airlines warned last month that about half of its front-line workforce could be spared this fall. The airline’s tally of 36,000 workers includes 15,000 flight attendants, 11,000 customer service representatives and gate agents, 5,550 maintenance personnel and 2,250 pilots.
Such notification is required under the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or the WARN Act, and is not unexpected, especially in the current economic climate.
Alaska Airlines told CBS News that it is sending possible fake notices to 4,200 front-line employees, but the final count is expected to be lower. Nearly a third of Alaska Airlines’ 3,100 pilots have opted for voluntary leave or early retirement, allowing carriers to avoid pilot furloughs. Overall, Alaska Airlines plans to reduce its workforce by 35%, but market conditions may change the equation.
A spokesperson for Alaska Airlines said, “We are making drastic decisions to shape Alaska Airlines right for future success, but it means we are losing fantastic people. We find some people very difficult Should, and these decisions are very difficult. ”
“We are in the midst of the biggest demand contraction in our industry history,” Alaska Airlines President Ben Minicucci said on the airline’s second-quarter earnings call.
Other carriers considering cutbacks include:
- Frontier Airlines, which informed 35% of its flight attendants and pilots that they could be finished as early as October, had 925 flight attendants and 559 pilots sending notifications in late July.
- Allegiant Airlines, which plans to cut 220 non-union positions after 30 September and is expected to warn 275 pilots, or about 30%, that they are facing unpaid time off.
- ExpressJet, which is seen as likely to wind up its operations after losing its flight contract with United, like next year. The carrier employs 3,000 people.
- Hawaiian Airlines, which is warning 2,135 of its employees that they could be deported, including 226 out of about 850 pilots.
- PSA Airlines is a subsidiary of American Airlines. The PSA can lay off 730 pilots and 500 flight attendants.
- Piedmont Airlines, which notified 120 pilots, faces Farlow.
- Republic Airlines, where about 1,800 pilots and flight attendants face off.
- GoJet, where a spokesperson for the regional carrier confirmed to CBS News that a warning had been sent to all its 1,185 employees. A GoJet spokesperson said, “The exact percentage of employees ultimately affected is based on schedule demand and is unknown at this time. However, we expect our schedule to be significantly reduced.”
Although unions are lobbying to expand the payroll support program adopted in the CARES Act passed in late March, it is unclear whether Congress will now include airlines in the financial aid package.
“Flight attendants and other aviation personnel burned congressional phone lines last week to garner support for the clean expansion of the payroll support program,” Association of Flight Attendants president Sarah Nelson said in an email statement.
“This provision is COVID Relief’s most successful employment program and maintains service for all of our communities,” said Nelson, whose consortium represents approximately 50,000 flight attendants at 19 airlines.
CBS News correspondent Chris Van Cleeve contributed to this report.