American Airlines to furlough up to 13,000 employees, blames COVID travel restrictions and vaccine delays

In 2020 they said they would cut thousands of jobs due to decreased air travel.

February 4, 2021, 4:24 AM

American Airlines will send WARN/furlough notices to roughly 13,000 employees as federal aid is set to expire next month, the company announced Wednesday.

This includes 1,850 pilots, 4,245 flight attendants, 1,420 maintenance workers, 3,145 fleet service workers, 1,205 passenger service workers, 100 dispatch workers and 40 flight crew training instructors and simulator pilot instructors.

The airline's announcement comes just days after United said it might have to lay off up to 14,000 employees. It also comes six months after American Airlines announced it would be cutting 19,000 jobs due to decreased air travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, due to the global health crisis, American Airlines lost $8.9 billion after earning nearly $1.7 billion in 2019.

(FILE) An exterior view of an American Airlines B737 MAX airplane is seen as members of the media board at Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas, U.S., Dec. 2, 2020.
Cooper Neill/AFP via Getty Images

In an 8-K filing, American Airlines said it originally believed it would be able to fly all of its aircraft by this summer, but because COVID-19 vaccine distribution is taking longer than expected, demand will remain much lower than anticipated.

The airline also blames a required negative coronavirus test for inbound international passengers for hindered demand.

FILE PHOTO: American Airlines jets sit at Reagan National Airport in Washington, U.S. April 29, 2020.
Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Union leaders are lobbying Congress for $15 billion to extend the Payroll Support Program through September.

While WARN notices will go out to 13,000 workers, that doesn’t mean that 13,000 will be let go; American Airlines is also offering early out packages to those who qualify.