US AIRWAYS CUTTING 1,000 JOBS, REDUCING FLYING
By Linda Loyd
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
US Airways Group Inc. today announced that it will cut 1,000 jobs next year, including 200 pilots, 150 flight attendants and 600 airport workers.
No flight crew or airport passenger and ramp service employees based in Philadelphia will lose their jobs, airline spokesman Morgan Durrant said.
Many of the job cuts will be in Las Vegas, Boston and New York's LaGuardia airport.
US Airways will suspend five international destinations from Philadelphia next year – Birmingham and London Gatwick in the U.K.; Milan, Italy; Shannon, Ireland, and Stockholm, Sweden which have not shown "economic resiliency or profitability" in the current economic downturn, chairman and chief executive Doug Parker said in a memo to employees.
US Airways will also drop its planned route to Beijing, China, which was postponed from 2009 to 2010. Now, the airline said it will return the route authority to the U.S. Department of Transprotation "until economic conditions improve, while retaining the option to reapply for this authority in the future."
Parker said the 2010 flying schedule and fleet will be reduced, although details are still being finalized.
Once the changes are made, flights will be focused out of US Airways' hubs in Charlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington D.C.'s Reagan National Airport.
On its East Coast shuttle, U.S. Airways will fly smaller Embraer-190 aircraft between Boston Logan and New York LaGuardia airports.
Flights will still continue hourly between Philadelphia and Boston, although some planes may be smaller 99-seat aircraft instead of larger planes.
US Airways, in reporting a third-quarter loss of $80 million last week, said it planned to reduce international flying. The Tempe, Ariz. carrie lost $800 million in 2008 and projected today "another large loss for 2009."
US Airways will cut Las Vegas flights from 64 to 36 departures a day by February because of high fuel prices and "continued weak demand."
It will drop all flights to Wichita, Kan., and Colorado Springs, Colo.
Crew bases will be closed in Las Vegas and New York LaGuardia by Jan. 31, and in Boston by May 2. Some flight crews now based in those cities may fly out of Philadelphia in the future, Durrant said.
"These are difficult decisions," Parker said. "They are, however, the right decisions. By focusing on our strengths and eliminating unprofitable flying, we will increase the likelihood of returning US Airways to long-term profitability," he said.
US Airways has about 1,950 flight attendants and 1,150 pilots based at Philadelphia International Airport.
Source - Philadelphia Inquirer