US Airways cutting 600 jobs - East Valley Tribune: News

US Airways cutting 600 jobs

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Posted: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 4:48 pm | Updated: 12:28 pm, Tue Dec 4, 2012.

US Airways will sack 600 of its airport workers this fall, citing declining business travel that's driving down the Tempe-based carrier's revenue. It's too soon to know how many cuts will come from each city in the carrier's network, including its home base at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, said Valerie Wunder, a US Airways spokeswoman.

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US Airways will sack 600 of its airport workers this fall, citing declining business travel that's driving down the Tempe-based carrier's revenue.

It's too soon to know how many cuts will come from each city in the carrier's network, including its home base at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, said Valerie Wunder, a US Airways spokeswoman.

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"The majority of (the cuts) are the airport customer service and the fleet ground service employees," she said.

That includes those who man ticket counters, baggage handlers, workers who marshal the planes and other ground service personnel.

The announcement came Tuesday in a letter to employees from Robert Isom, the carrier's chief operating officer.

"Today's economy demands we continue to look for ways to control costs," Isom said.

Isom added that airline officials originally hoped attrition - retiring workers or those quitting their jobs - would trim the bulging ranks resulting from a reduced schedule and other operating efficiencies instituted last year to respond to spiking oil prices and reduced travel.

"(T)his simply hasn't proven to be the case," he said.

David Stempler, president of the Potomac, Md.-based Air Travelers Association, said the reductions won't affect customer service or cause consumers to avoid US Airways.

"I don't think these are the kind of changes that would be very visible to passengers," he said.

The announcement comes a day after 192 flight attendants received official notification of their forced furlough on Aug. 5. The involuntary absences could extend throughout 2010, according to the Association of Flight Attendants, Council 66 in Tempe.

"We were surprised and we thought that most of the cuts had been made," Lisa LeCarre, the group's president, said of the 600 job cuts. "We thought it was pretty much over."

LeCarre said she doubts that the cuts or furloughs will greatly affect service.

"We have been on the fat side in terms of flight attendant staffing, so I do not have any concerns really that it will affect the service."

Stempler also said the flight attendants' furloughs won't have much of an impact.

"There are a minimum number of flight attendants on every flight," he said. "I think this just reflects the continuing cutback of flights by US Airways ... like the other airlines are cutting back to try to deal with this recession and lower traffic levels."

Wunder said she didn't know if these would be the last cuts.

"Unfortunately you can never really tell," she said. "We just have to keep running a good operation and try to make sure that we generate revenue."

The carrier reported a net loss of $103 million, or 90 cents per share, for the first quarter of 2009. That was less than the $237 million, or $2.58 per share, it lost for the same period last year. Airline officials report their second-quarter earnings July 23.

The 600 job cuts include nine workers at the Las Vegas US Airways Club, which the airline said it will close, and reductions at the Phoenix US Airways Club. The ticket office at its headquarters will also close, and Isom said the carrier will switch to outside vendors for ramp service in nine locations.

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