American Airlines warned employees Wednesday of possible furloughs in April, saying the COVID-19 vaccine is "not being distributed as quickly" as i
American Airlines warned employees Wednesday of possible furloughs in April, saying the COVID-19 vaccine is “not being distributed as quickly” as it expected.
The airline employs about 133,700 people in the U.S., according to Forbes estimates.
“We fully believed that we would be looking at a summer schedule where we’d fly all of our airplanes and need the full strength of our team,” American Airlines CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom said in a letter to employees obtained by USA TODAY.
Any job impact will take effect after government payroll aid expires April 1.
“We will fly at least 45% less in the first quarter compared to what we flew for the same period in 2019, and based on current demand outlook, we will not fly all of our aircraft this summer as planned,” the company explained.
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Some furlough notices will go out on Friday to employees in areas where it is required by law. However, the notices do not equate to automatic furlough, the company explained.
American Airlines said it would offer a voluntary early out program Friday and a long-term voluntary leave-of-absence program for frontline, U.S.-based team members, excluding pilots.
The airline industry has taken a massive hit during the global pandemic. American Airlines was forced furlough employees back in October. Two months later, Delta Air Lines asked more employees to take unpaid leaves of absence.