TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group it is cutting up to 1,200 jobs, about 20 percent of its work force, because of the travel slowdown from last month's terrorist attacks, the rental car company announced Friday.

``Obviously, this is a very difficult and painful decision,'' Joseph E. Cappy, Dollar Thrifty's chairman and chief executive said. ``However, these are actions that must be taken to protect the future of our companies.''

The company already was feeling the effects of the economic slowdown before the attacks, he said.

To shore up costs after terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon on Sept. 11, Dollar Thrifty reduced the size of its fleet and trimmed operating costs.

However, layoffs became necessary as the travel business slowed further, he said.

Shares of Dollar Thrifty Automotive closed Friday on the New York Stock Exchange at $9.95, up 30 cents.

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