American to cut jobs and resize network

Washington DC
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American Airlines has indicated it would slash jobs and resize its network as it restructures following last month's filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and does not rule out a takeover by other companies.

In a letter today to the airline's employees, American's CEO and chairman Tom Horton said: "We will restructure our debt and aircraft leases, and as we do we will undoubtedly need to ground some planes and resize our network before we can turn the corner and grow again. And, regrettably, we will most certainly end the process with fewer people than we have today."

Horton added that the airline will also have to agree on "next-generation, competitive labour contracts". American has long maintained that its labour costs, which are higher than that of its fellow US carriers which have gone through restructuring, have hurt the company's bottom line.

Pointing to past examples of carriers who have filed for bankruptcy protection and were subsequently acquired by others, Horton said: "Some will say the company should be sold or broken up. And as we've seen before in this industry, there may be opportunists who wish to acquire our company while we are in this situation."

Without ruling out a takeover, he added: "As I've said from the outset, I think the best path for American is the one that leads us back to the top."

Horton also indicated that more changes to the airline's senior executive team are likely, following an announcement earlier this month that three executives would leave the airline. "We have already made some changes to strengthen and streamline the leadership team, and there will be more changes to come," he said.

American filed for bankruptcy protection on 29 November, with listed total debts of $29.6 billion. In the coming weeks, the carrier will work through its debt and lease negotiations and study its network, said Horton.