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AA Employees Fear More Layoffs

August 7, 2002

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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ Employees at American Airlines are bracing for possible layoffs, as the big carrier continues to record big losses while waiting for travel demand to improve.

Rumors have circulated for several weeks among pilots, flight attendants and other workers that American will cut more workers. Some union leaders say it could happen as early as September.

Todd Wissing, a pilot and spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, said layoffs could come as the airline adjusts schedules after the summer travel season.

``Everything is going to depend on the bookings and travel forecast,″ Wissing told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Chairman and chief executive Donald J. Carty said last month that the airline would need fewer people in the future _ it has slightly more than 100,000 now. But Carty didn’t say when or how much the ranks would be thinned.

An American spokesman, Todd Burke, said the airline views attrition as the best way to reduce the work force.

Recently, the company reduced the retirement age for nonunion workers from 62 to 60 to encourage more workers to take early retirement.

George Price of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants said he hoped the airline would avoid layoffs by allowing employees to use vacations and short-term leave until travel recovers.

``There is definitely a lot of chatter about big layoffs,″ Price said. ``But we don’t have any concrete information.″

Wissing, the pilots’ union spokesman, said unions are pressing to meet with company officials but nothing is scheduled.

Fort Worth-based American, Houston-based Continental and other carriers laid off thousands of workers after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which led to a steep drop in travel.

Most major carriers were already losing money before Sept. 11, and only Dallas-based Southwest has remained profitable since. American has lost $2.8 billion in the past 18 months.

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