|American Airlines planes sit parked at the terminal of LaGuardia Airport in New York November 8, 2007. |
American Airlines told employees on Wednesday it would axe nearly 7,000 employees by the end of the year, or about 8 percent of its worldwide work force, to cope with skyrocketing fuel costs.
American, the nation's largest carrier, said the cuts were necessary "to overcome near-term challenges and secure our company's long-term future."
The job cuts, which appear to be twice as big as those announced so far by any other carrier, could affect as many as 900 flight attendants.
American has about 18,000 active flight attendants, so 900 jobs represents 5 percent of the ranks.
Federal law requires employers to give 60 days notice of major layoffs, and officials of the flight attendants' union said they received a notice Wednesday of job reductions that could start Aug. 31.
"These are difficult but necessary changes given the unprecedented challenges we face with overcapacity in the industry, skyrocketing fuel prices, and a worsening U.S. economy," said Tim Wagner, an American spokesman.
Jeffrey J. Brundage, American’s senior vice president for human resources, said American had agreed on an early-retirement deal covering flight attendants and members of the Transport Workers Union, which represents mechanics and ground workers.