American Airlines set to issue about 13,000 furloughs to its workers before April 1st
American Airlines has declared that over 12,000 airline staff will be put on furloughs from April 1st. This was announced in a letter to its staff, where American Airlines detailed that the airline business environment shows little signs of progress and doesn’t look promising. The airline is no longer looking at a summer schedule where it would expect the resumption of its staff in full capacity. American Airlines, however, is supportive of union efforts to extend payroll support funding through September 30th.
The airline posited that this new year 2021 had not brought the hope and optimism of a better travel environment thus far. Before now, the airline previously believed it would be flying a hefty schedule and need the “full strength of our team.” Unfortunately, the carrier detailed it does not believe that is the case anymore.
The slow distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is the first reason American Airlines is making this decision because this will not enable a safe environment for flying its maximum capacity. Secondly, international travellers must present proof of a negative test for COVID-19 before they enter into the United States.
Considering the turn of events, there are concerns from unions about the welfare of the affected workers.
Starting on Friday, the airline will begin issuing Worker Adjustment, and Retraining Notification (WARN) notices to around 13,000 team members. However, not all of the notices will equate to furloughs. But in accordance with the law, American Airlines has to first warn of furloughs, even though the situation may not be as critical as projected.
American Airlines is also opening up a voluntary early-out program and a long-term voluntary leave of absence program for frontline, non-pilot, US-based team members. The extension of the Payroll Support Program (PSP) in late-December required airlines to bring back furloughed employees to the payroll and pay employee salaries and benefits for all through the end of March with no involuntary furloughs or layoffs.