American Airlines cuts 19,000 more jobs; 40,000 workers lost in pandemic

FORT WORTH, Texas — At least 40,000 American Airlines workers — about 30% of the Fort Worth-based company’s work force — will have lost their jobs by Oct. 1 because of the pandemic, airline officials say.

That figure includes an additional 19,000 job losses effective Oct. 1. Those cuts, which were disclosed Tuesday, were in addition to cuts made during the summer.

American Airlines officials on Tuesday unveiled details of the job losses, which are spelled out in an 8-K form filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The 8-K form is required of publicly traded companies to notify shareholders of major changes.

The job losses include:

• Voluntary departures: 12,500

• Voluntary leaves: 11,000

• Involuntary: 19,000.

Of the involuntary leaves, 17,5000 were furloughed and 1,500 were laid off.

Flight attendants were among the hardest hit. Of 27,000 flight attendants, 8,100 will be on furlough and 4,500 will be on voluntary leave, officials said. Another 2,700 took a voluntary early out package during the summer.

Of 15,000 pilots, 1,600 will be placed on furlough and 700 will be on voluntary leave. About 1,200 took a voluntary early out package in the summer.

In a letter to employees, American chairman and chief executive officer Doug Parker and president Robert Isom described the details unveiled Tuesday as “sobering updates on a world none of us could have imagined.”

Parker and Isom said that, while federal assistance helped the airline stay afloat through September, it won’t be enough to pay the bills beyond that. Thus, the job cuts are necessary.

“Based on current demand levels, we at American now plan to fly less than 50% of our airline in the fourth quarter, with long-haul international particularly reduced to only 25% of 2019 levels,” Parker and Isom wrote. “So, as Sept. 30 approaches, we have announced reductions in service, including the complete elimination of service to certain markets in early October, and today we are announcing the related reductions in our workforce.”

Company officials didn’t elaborate on how many of those jobs are in North Texas, but the impact is likely to be huge locally.

American boasted roughly 33,000 employees in the Dallas-Fort Worth region prior to the COVID crisis.

The company last year opened a $350 million campus near Texas 360 and Trinity Boulevard in far northeast Fort Worth, just south of the company’s global hub at DFW Airport. About 12,000 employees initially worked at the new campus, although the number has dropped significantly in recent months as the company has offered incentives for workers to leave.