American Airlines to cut one-third of management, support staff

American Airlines to cut one-third of management, support staff
© Greg Nash

American Airlines on Wednesday said it will need to cut its management and support staff by 30 percent in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Executive Vice President of People and Global Engagement Elise Eberwein told the airline’s 17,000 management and support staff about the need for cuts in a letter Wednesday. 

“Although our pre-pandemic liquidity, the significant financial assistance provided by the government and the cash we’ve raised in the capital markets provide a foundation for stability, we need to reduce our cost structure, including our most significant expense — the cost of compensation and benefits,” she wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Hill. 

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She said American has to plan for operating a smaller airline for the “foreseeable future.”

American said it will offer a new “voluntary early out program” for employees. The option will remain open through June 10. 

If there are not enough early out volunteers, the airline will notify employees of “involuntary separations” in July, Eberwein said. 

Impacted team members will remain on the payroll through Sept. 30 and will receive full pay and benefits through the expiration of the CARES ACT. 

Eberwein said nearly 39,000 team members have already elected to take voluntary leave or early retirement. 

In addition to the 30 percent staff cuts, American has also decided to fly roughly 100 fewer aircrafts next summer than originally planned. 

Earlier this month United Airlines had reportedly announced it is also planning to cut about 30 percent of management staff in response to the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on air travel.