Airlines are much smaller today than they were a year ago. They expect to continue to be smaller even a year from now and perhaps even two years from now. So they need fewer people on staff.
The government has been paying airlines to keep everyone employed anyway, but furlough restrictions lift October 1. While Southwest Airlines, which was more generous with its voluntary programs, doesn’t expect to furlough anyone this year American Airlines has announced layoffs coming for 19,000 people on top of the early retirements and leaves some have already taken and on top of the 30% management layoff announced months ago.
United, which was the first and most vocal about the need to shed staff, is now out with their layoff plans and they’re looking at shedding 16,370 staff come October, according to an internal memo:
That’s actually less than half of the 36,000 WARN Act notices they sent out in July – and makes the case for continued government subsidy to stem job losses less compelling.