American Airlines to start laying off 19,000 workers

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NEW YORK, United States (AFP) – American Airlines will begin laying off 19,000 workers from Thursday, the company said, as US officials failed to secure a deal on further aid to the transportation sector aircraft affected by the pandemic.U.S. carriers that received billions in aid from Congress had promised to refrain from laying off workers until the end of September, paving the way for thousands of job cuts in October.

“Our elected officials have not been able to reach agreement on a Covid-19 relief package … As a result, tomorrow we will begin the difficult process of firing 19,000 of our hardworking and dedicated colleagues,” said the CEO Doug Parker in a letter Wednesday.

However, he issued a hopeful note saying that if lawmakers were able to strike a deal for further assistance, the holidays would be canceled and affected teams recalled.

Since the coronavirus escalated in March, U.S. airlines have grounded planes and delayed jet deliveries to limit their money consumption, as air travel remains only about a third of its level one year ago.

The carriers have entered into agreements with the unions to distribute the work among the employees. Tens of thousands of employees have also accepted unpaid leave or early retirement packages to avoid the need for involuntary layoffs.

Yet decisions will not be enough to prevent all job cuts. Airlines have said they don’t expect a full recovery until a vaccine is widely available, which company executives have said may not be until the end of 2021.

Unions have said 100,000 or more people could be made redundant without further federal help, but analysts expect a lower number than that as airlines and unions seek ways to avoid layoffs.

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