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American Airlines to cut 19,000 jobs when U.S. aid expires in October

CHICAGO, Aug 25 (Reuters) - American Airlines said on Tuesday it will cut 19,000 U.S. jobs in October as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to weigh on air travel, unless the government extends aid for airline employee payrolls.

Airlines received $25 billion in U.S. government stimulus funds in March meant to cover payrolls and protect jobs through September. As the money runs out without a travel recovery in sight, airlines and unions have lobbied Washington for another $25 billion, but talks have stalled.

Including voluntary exits and leaves, American’s workforce will shrink to around 100,000 in October from the 140,000 it employed in March.

“In short, American’s team will have at least 40,000 fewer people working Oct. 1 than we had when we entered this pandemic,” Chief Executive Doug Parker and President Robert Isom said in a memo to employees that was reviewed by Reuters.

The October job cuts comprise 17,500 furloughs of union workers -including 1,600 pilots and 8,100 flight attendants - and 1,500 management positions.

Based on current demand levels, American now plans to fly less than 50% of its normal schedule in the fourth quarter, with international flying reduced to only a quarter of 2019 levels, Parker and Isom said in the memo. (Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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