American Airlines said Tuesday it will furlough 17,500 employees in October as it struggles with a sharp downturn in travel because of the pandemic. This is in addition to 1,500 management and administrative workers already laid off.
The airline said 23,500 employees have accepted buyouts, retired early or taken long-term leaves of absence, but that was not enough to avoid involuntary cuts. The furloughs of union workers and layoffs of management staff announced Tuesday will fall heaviest on flight attendants, with 8,100 being laid off in October.
Additionally 2,225 fleet service agents; 1,600 pilots; and 1,275 passenger service agents will be furloughed.
American executives said the furloughs can only be avoided if the federal government gives airlines another $25 billion to help them cover labor costs for six more months.