By Evan Hoopfer – Staff Writer, Dallas Business Journal Mar 17, 2020, 7:32pm EDT
American Airlines is offering most of its employees unpaid leave as the carrier looks to lower costs amid an unprecedented time for commercial aviation.
American Airlines Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: AAL) sent a letter to employees Tuesday that details two different leave options. The company had 133,700 employees at the end of last year.
Employees not eligible for these offers include reservations employees — because call volume from customers is so high at the moment — and management and support staff. The company will work with international employees on a country-by-country basis, it said in the letter.
This follows the company reaching an agreement with the Allied Pilots Association, which represents nearly 14,000 pilots American, on Sunday. The offers for pilots are different than other employee groups. To see details of pilot offers, see this story.
Here are the details of what American is offering employees. Both are unpaid, but employees are eligible to continue their health benefits by paying the same rate as when they are active:
- Voluntary leave of absence: Most of the leaves being offered are for three months, six months or 12 months, a company spokesperson said. Employees will continue to be eligible for medical, dental, vision, life insurance and AD&D benefits at active rates. Employees who take this option are also eligible for the same non-revenue flying perks active employees get.
- Voluntary early out program: Employees with at least 15 years of seniority are eligible for this option. “This is a permanent separation from the company,” the letter said. Employees who take this option are eligible for medical, dental and vision coverage for two years at their active rate. “You’ll be responsible to pay the bill for your share of the premiums,” the letter added. This option includes payout of unused accrued vacation time.
American employs 33,000 people in North Texas, as the area is home to both its new corporate headquarters in Fort Worth and its largest hub, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.
According to its website, American’s employee breakdown in North Texas includes:
- 9,160 management and support staff (not eligible for these leave options)
- 6,060 flight attendants
- 5,285 in wholly owned regional carriers
- 3,415 pilots
- 3,400 in fleet service
- 3,220 in maintenance
- 1,630 in reservations (not eligible for these leave options)
- 1,240 in passenger service