Just days after United Airlines offered a buyout package to employees to help trim costs in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Southwest has done the same thing.
The airline said Tuesday it is offering workers another voluntary leave package to help get its staffing in line with the decreased capacity for air travel. In short, like United and American, Southwest has too many employees and not enough jobs to go around.
“Southwest remains overstaffed in many areas. As a result, some departments will be offering additional opportunities for Employees to take Extended Time Off (ExTO) beginning in March 2021, based upon projected staffing levels”, the company said in an email to Reuters. “The additional opportunities for leave align with the period when some Employees will return from previously-awarded, six-month leaves on March 1, 2021.”
Bloomberg reported earlier that 791 Southwest pilots have agreed to take off one to three months.
Southwest was one of the airlines requesting monies from the U.S. Treasury Department as part of the second COVID-19 relief package passed by the federal government last month. The loans are part of the Payroll Protection Program.
The Treasury Dept. began sending checks out earlier this month. Southwest expects to receive $1.73 billion.
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