American Airlines announced it will furlough over 1,000 workers based out of Philadelphia International Airport due to reduced flights caused by the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Philadelphia Business Journal the layoffs will start in April as the airline forecasts a summer of reduced flight services.
There will be 28 permanent layoffs beginning April 1 and 1,032 furloughs that will begin on April 10, according to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification notice on the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry website.
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom stated in a letter sent to team members last Wednesday that the slow speed of the vaccine distribution and recent international travel restrictions have decreased travel demand.
Similar to 2020
“We are nearly five weeks into 2021, and unfortunately, we find ourselves in a situation similar to much of 2020. As we closed out last year with the successful extension of the Payroll Support Program (PSP), 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. Regrettably, that is no longer the case,” the letter said.
Expectations about the speed of the coronavirus vaccination process have not matched reality. In addition, travel restrictions have complicated the situation for American Airlines.
“The vaccine is not being distributed as quickly as any of us believed, and new restrictions on international travel that require customers to have a negative COVID-19 test have dampened demand,” the letter said. “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.”