Thousands more airline jobs axed


Almost 50,000 more jobs are to go at major airlines as they brace themselves for plummeting passenger numbers following the World Trade Centre outrage.

British Airways - one of the major trans-Atlantic airlines - announced 7,000 job losses. Twenty aircraft in the BA fleet will also be grounded as operations are reduced by ten per cent.

Chief Executive Rod Eddington said:'We face exceptional conditions which have forced us to take very tough decisions.

'The tragic events in the USA will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the demand for air travel in the months ahead. We have taken the necessary steps to curtail expenditure and sadly to cut our workforce. Wherever possible we will try to achieve these cuts by voluntary means. We are currently in consultation with our unions.

'Despite the difficult market, our balance sheet remains strong and we are a well-established business. However, we must act now to protect British Airways for the long term.'

The two airlines whose planes were hijacked during the US suicide attacks are also shedding thousands of posts.

American Airlines said it was axing 20,000 jobs. The company said the industry was in a 'state of emergency'.

Chairman and chief executive officer Don Carty said the day could only be described as 'heartbreaking'.

In a letter to employees he said: 'This is, without a doubt, the most difficult thing I have had to do in my two decades at American. I have declared a state of emergency at American Airlines. This declaration is an official recognition that - hard as it may be to accept - our company's very survival depends on dramatic change to our operations, our schedule, and worst of all our staffing levels.'

Carty added: 'The events of September 11 will forever change our country, our industry and our company.'

United Airlines is also cutting 20,000 posts and reducing flights by 20 per cent to around 1,900 a day.

Chairman and CEO James Goodwin said: 'These actions are extremely painful ones, but they are absolutely critical to maintaining our ability to continue operating and meeting the needs of our customers over the near term.

'While we continue to focus our attention on assisting the families of our passengers and employees who were victims of the attack, we must also focus on saving our company. We simply have no choice but to step up to the realities of this extraordinarily critical time and take drastic measures to preserve our viability and operations.'

The cuts are already hitting tech industries. Honeywell announced it was laying off another 3,800 workers from its commercial air transport business.