American Airlines in ‘fight of our lives’ as it plans more coronavirus cuts

Mar 19, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

American Airlines president Robert Isom called the carrier’s efforts to survive the novel coronavirus pandemic the “fight for our lives” in a memo unveiling plans for further staff and flying reductions.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier will cut its domestic schedule by 30% in April with deeper cuts coming in May, Isom told employees in the communiqué Thursday. The reductions are on top of the 75% cut to American’s international schedule that will leave it with just three long-haul routes through at least May.

As part of the effort to match capacity to demand and cut spending, American is offering voluntary leave to most union staff and an early-retirement option for employees with more than 15 years at the airline.

“We are in the fight of our lives, and we will win,” said Isom.

Get Coronavirus travel updates. Stay on top of industry impacts, flight cancellations, and more.

American’s deeper schedule cuts were expected. Its largest competitors, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, have both cut system capacity far more by 70% and 60%, respectively. All three are moving to respond to the plummeting demand for air travel as people stay home among calls to slow the spread of COVID-19.

All of the reductions are having ripple effect on the industry. Regional affiliate Compass Airlines will shut down on April 7 due to American’s latest cuts, and Trans States Airlines will close its doors on April 1 due to United’s reductions. The moves will leave thousands of staff at both regional carriers jobless as the larger U.S. economy slows.

“This is devastating,” Association of Flight Attendants-CWA president president Sara Nelson told TPG. “If the government doesn’t act fast we’re going to see more casualties.”

The AFA represents cabin crew at 20 airlines, including Compass.

Related: Compass to close doors in April with loss of American Airlines flying

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ned Russell (@airbus777) on

U.S. carriers have asked the government for at least $50 billion in aid to get through the crisis. Funds would help the bridge the cash crunch many face as revenues dry up.

At American, Isom told employees that “each dollar matters.” The airline closed a new $1 billion loan to shore up its balance sheet on March 18.

American CEO Doug Parker is in Washington, D.C., working to secure an aid package, added Isom.

The carrier will park around 450 of its 1,547 jets — 942 mainline and 605 regional at the end of December — with the schedule cut. This includes retiring its Boeing 757 and 767 fleets early.

Related: US airlines seek at least $50 billion in aid to combat coronavirus crisis

Featured image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.