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Even After 4,500 Early Retirements, American Airlines Plans More Staff Cuts

Steve Harrison/WFAE
Planes sit at Charlotte Douglas Airport. American has reduced its daily flights at CLT from 700 to less than 300.

American Airlines told its employees Wednesday that it will reduce its management and support staff team by 30% because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement is the latest sign of how COVID-19 has crippled the economy, particularly airlines, hotels and restaurants.

In a memo to employees, the airline said the management employees  - who are not unionized - are eligible for a “voluntary early buyout program” through early June. If there aren’t enough volunteers, the airline said there would be layoffs. 

The airline previously announced that 39,000 employees have decided to take early retirement, voluntary leave or reduced hours.

Before the pandemic, American operated 700 daily flights from Charlotte – its second largest hub. It’s now flying less than 300. In the employee memo, American said it needs to be a “smaller airline for the foreseeable future.”

The airline said it has three goals for the near future: Having enough cash to "weather the downturn," "reducing its cash burn" and "restoring confidence in air travel."

American has been spending $70 million in cash a day to stay afloat, according to the Dallas Morning News.

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