WASHINGTON – American airlines American Airlines and United Airlines announced that they will lay off 32,000 of their workers starting this Thursday, when the bailout conditions imposed by the US government expire.
American Airlines plans to lay off about 19,000 employees, while United Airlines plans to lay off more than 13,000.
Both companies urged the US Congress to pass a new bailout to avoid layoffs.
However, negotiations between Democrats and Republicans to approve a new stimulus package to address the economic crisis stemming from the coronavirus pandemic have been stalled for months.
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker announced Wednesday that “as a result” of the lack of agreement in Congress, the airline “will begin the difficult process of laying off 19,000 of its hardworking and dedicated colleagues.”
According to CNBC, this figure represents 14% of the staff of the airline, which is based in Fort Worth (Texas).
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For its part, United Airlines will lay off some 13,000 employees, nearly 7,000 of them flight attendants.
“We implore our elected representatives to compromise, make a deal now, and save jobs,” the Chicago-based company said in a message to its employees.
US airlines received a rescue of 25,000 million dollars belonging to the two trillion of the largest economic stimulus package in the history of the country, approved last March.
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In exchange for receiving the money, the airlines promised not to lay off employees until September 30.
The leader of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the largest union of flight attendants in the country, Sara Nelson, urged the Government and the opposition to reach an agreement because “tomorrow, tens of thousands of essential aviation workers will wake up no job or health insurance. “
Aviation is one of the sectors most affected by the pandemic due to the plummeting fall in air travel and it is estimated that only in the second quarter of the year the losses reached 10 billion dollars.
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The massive layoffs in the airlines add to the 28,000 announced this Tuesday by Walt Disney in its theme parks also because of the coronavirus.
The US is the country hardest hit by the pandemic with 7,233,042 confirmed cases of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and 206,932 deaths from the COVID-19 disease, according to the most recent data from Johns Hopkins University.