American Airlines (AAL.O) said Wednesday that it is sending 25,000 notices of potential leave to frontline workers and has warned that demand for air travel is slowing again as COVID-19 cases increase and states reinstate quarantine restrictions.
The Rehabilitation and Workers Rehabilitation Notification Act requires companies to give 60 days notice in the event of layoffs or potential leaves.
In a note to employees released Wednesday, American said the advisories were linked to the overstaffing it expects in October, when the US government payroll assistance expires.
American, with more than 130,000 employees in 2019, had already warned that holidays would be difficult to avoid because the income affected by the pandemic remains slower than what the airline had hoped for.
Among the various working groups, alerts are sent to 2,500 pilots, or around 18% of the total, nearly 10,000 flight attendants or 37% of the total, and 3,200 mechanics or 22% of the total.
Overall, Americans expect to be overstaffed by about 20,000 people in the fall, but hope to reduce the actual number of leaves through improved leave and early departure programs, it has been rolled out alongside unions, said managing director Doug Parker and president Robert Isom in the memo. .
They noted, however, that if Congress adopted another set of payroll support measures until March 31, the need for involuntary leave at that time would be “much less in the industry” because “there are would most certainly have more demand for air transportation. ”
Unions representing aviation workers asked legislators for additional $ 32 billion in wage assistance to keep hundreds of thousands of workers employed for six months last October. Airlines have not opposed the idea, but have so far not actively lobbied for the idea.
Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) said this week that it believed it could avoid time off after about 17,000 employees signed up for early departure offers.
By encouraging more older workers to leave, U.S. airlines could cut their labor costs – their main expenses – during the recovery, which would give them more pricing power. Contracts with airline unions require airlines to lay off young workers first.
United Airlines (UAL.O) sent 36,000 leave notices, representing about 45% of workers, and Southwest Airlines (LUV.N) also warned that job losses will be difficult to avoid.
After boosting summer flights after some signs of pent-up leisure demand in May and June, some airlines have now cut their schedules due to an increase in COVID-19 cases across the country.
The American epidemic has prompted several countries to impose travel restrictions on Americans. The European Union has excluded the United States from its list of “safe” trips.
Both Canada and Mexico want to extend the ban on non-essential travel to the US borders.
Even in the United States, Americans in 22 states are required to self-quarantine for 14 days if they enter New York or New Jersey, two states that have successfully stopped infections.