Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Business

American Airlines laying off up to 1,400 in Florida; up to 11,000 nationwide

American Airlines on Tuesday warned it could lay off up to 1,414 employees across Florida this fall — and up to 11,000 nationwide — as the carrier's labor showdown intensified and flight cancellations continued.

Despite the volume of layoff notices, the carrier said the actual number of people losing their jobs may wind up closer to 4,400. Federal law requires the company to notify anyone whose position could change if they are "bumped" by a more-senior employee whose job is eliminated

Flight cancellations have spiked at the airline, which has said it is reducing flights at least partly because of staffing shortages. American canceled more flights on Sunday and Monday than any other airline, according to flight-tracking services.

So far, the impact at Tampa International Airport has been restrained.

TIA officials Tuesday afternoon said there had been no American flight cancellations or delays. There are no Tampa layoffs explicitly noted in the notice that the company filed with the state. Rather, the cuts are heavily concentrated in South Florida.

Bruce Hicks, spokesman for American parent AMR Corp., said the company is "constantly evaluating our schedule based on operational and staffing resources" and seasonal patterns. He said the company was making changes to ensure reliable service for passengers.

The cancellations come a few days after American imposed new cost-cutting terms on its pilots, including outsourcing more flying jobs to other airlines and terminating one of the pilots' retirement programs in November. Pilots rejected more-generous terms in the last contract offer from American, which has been under bankruptcy protection since November.

In his letter to Florida officials, Michael J. Waldron, managing director of Diversity Strategies and Talent Development for the carrier, said the cutbacks were part of American's broader bankruptcy restructuring.

"We are making an attempt to mitigate the number of employees who may experience an employment loss as a result of this reduction in force by offering voluntary separation options," Waldron wrote. "Unfortunately, the reality is that our employee population will be affected by the steps we must take."

The cuts include 47 employees at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport effective Nov. 16 and 1,209 employees at Miami International Airport effective Dec. 16. The filing also cited another 158 job cuts statewide, but was unclear about the location of those workers.

The bulk of the targeted jobs are fleet service clerks, crew chiefs and mechanics.

Times staff writer Jeff Harrington contributed to this report.

American Airlines by the numbers

1,414 Florida employees facing layoffs.

11,000 Employees nationwide to be laid off.

47 Cuts to be made at Fort Lauderdale International Airport.

1,209 Employees at Miami International to lose jobs.

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