American Airlines furloughs 323 more flight attendants April 1. 87 jobs saved, all involved are former TWA flight attendants
American Airlines Inc. plans to furlough up to 323 flight attendants April 1 as it did not get enough volunteers to take leaves, early departures or other steps to reduce their ranks.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants informed its members Wednesday afternoon via a hotline message that it learned of the impending layoffs from Lauri Curtis, American's vice president of flight service.
Curtis had advised the union "that, despite the attempts over the last several months to accommodate the flight attendant manning overages caused by schedule reductions and reduced passenger loads, the company has been unable to sufficiently absorb the expected additional flight attendant headcount," the union said.
"It is therefore notifying the 410 most junior of our members that they are subject to furlough effective April 1, 2009," the union said.
American spokeswoman Sue Gordon said the potential furloughs are the result of less attrition than usual, not an effort by American to cut more jobs and capacity.
The airline had hoped to attract enough volunteers in January to avoid layoffs, she said. The airline had offered leaves of absence, travel privileges for people quitting and partnership flying – the sharing of one job by two flight attendants.
However, the airline hasn't been getting the number of requests for short-term leaves, retirements or resignations that it usually gets, and Gordon attributed it to the poor economy.
"The environment is changing rapidly," she said. "People are choosing to stay employed longer than we would have historically seen in terms of retirements and resignations. I think the economy is playing a factor where people are making different choices than they may have under a different economic environment."
The union also said American has agreed to give furloughed flight attendants an extra two years in which they have the right to be recalled by the airline.