Alaska Airlines said on Wednesday it would carry out widespread job cuts to survive the lull in travel during the pandemic, including in Alaska, where about 330 employees are expected to lose their jobs on October 1.
“We currently expect these separations to be permanent,” the company said Friday in a letter to state officials, required by federal law for large layoffs.
The airline has around 2000 AlasKa-based employees, an official said in June.
The job cuts will add to staggering losses in Alaskan industries during the COVID-19 outbreak. Unemployment in Alaska hit record highs above 12% in April, May and June.
More than 4,000 employees will be laid off or made redundant at the company, the airline said in a statement.
The losses in Alaska will be located in Anchorage, according to the filing with the state.
“We’re making tough decisions about the right size of Alaska Airlines for future success, but that means we’re losing fantastic people,” the airline said in a written statement, provided by spokesperson Tim Thompson. “Last week, we issued WARN advisories to 331 Anchorage employees, or approximately 26% of Anchorage employees, and includes customer service agents, flight attendants and maintenance technicians.”
The number of notices may be higher than the actual losses in October, the statement said.
“We were able to avoid involuntary pilot leave through a combination of voluntary leave and early departures, which allows us to keep all of our employed pilots beyond September 30, either as an active pilot or on leave at a reduced rate of pay and with all the health benefits, ”he said.
In Anchorage, flight attendants will suffer the heaviest losses, at 135 jobs, according to the state filing. Ramp crews will see 95 jobs lost, customer service agents will see 76 jobs lost and flight technicians will see 25 jobs lost.
The employees will be “separated” from the airline, but the airline intends to bring them back when the request returns, Thompson said in an email.
“We will continue to refine our staffing modeling over the next few weeks and expect the numbers to be final closer to October 1,” the Alaska Airlines statement said.
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