American to lay off 1,500 maintenance workers

Image: American Airlines workers
American Airlines workers perform maintenance at a facility near Fort Worth, Texas. The airline will cut 1,500 jobs in its maintenance division as it reduces its fleet of aircraft.Donna Mcwilliam / AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

American Airlines will cut 1,500 jobs in its maintenance division as it reduces its fleet of aircraft.

The nation's largest airline told employees of the cuts in memos this week.

American did not break down the cuts by location. Tami McLallen, a spokeswoman for the airline, said Friday that those decisions had not yet been made.

The airline has maintenance hubs in Kansas City, Tulsa, Okla., and Fort Worth, Texas, plus many smaller bases around the country. Besides maintaining American's jets, workers at the hubs also work on jets brought in by other carriers.

American has about 14,000 employees in its maintenance division, including management and support staff, and 13,000 of them are represented by the Transport Workers Union, McLallen said.

The cuts include 1,300 mechanics and 200 management and support staff, she said.

Airline plans to cut 8 percent of work force
The Fort Worth-based airline, part of AMR Corp., announced two weeks ago it would shed 8 percent of its work force — about 6,800 jobs — to cope with financial distress brought on by record fuel costs and a weakening economy.

The company has publicly identified only a portion of those cuts. It has said it will eliminate 900 flight attendant jobs and 200 pilot positions. The company is offering buyouts to senior employees to reduce the need for layoffs.

Chief Financial Officer Tom Horton hinted at the latest cuts when he said this week that American's maintenance organization was built for a much bigger airline than the one that will emerge after announced reductions in capacity.

American plans to cut its U.S. flying by up to 12 percent after the busy summer travel season ends.

On Wednesday, American announced it would speed up the retirement of its 34 Airbus A300 aircraft by the end of next year instead of waiting until 2012. American and its feeder carrier, American Eagle, will ground 103 planes this year.

AMR reported Wednesday that it lost $1.45 billion in the April-to-June quarter, most of it due to writing down the value of aircraft. Excluding those charges, the loss was $284 million.

AMR shares rose 18 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $7.09 in Friday morning trading.