Spirit Airlines, pilots reach agreement to avoid 600 furloughs

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A Spirit Airlines jet comes in for a landing at McCarran International Airport on May 25, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ethan Miller | Getty Images

Spirit Airlines pilots’ union on Tuesday said it reached an agreement to avoid involuntary furloughs of around 600 pilots when federal aid that has helped protect airline jobs runs out in October.

About half of Spirit’s more than 2,500 pilots would work fewer hours, a reduction in costs that helps the company avoid involuntary cuts, said Air Line Pilots Association, their union.

Spirit had said it could furlough about 2,500 people throughout the company but the “actual number will be a small fraction of that,” thanks to volunteers that signed up for voluntary leaves. 

Earlier Tuesday, American Airlines said it is planning to cut 19,000 jobs — including 1,600 of its 15,000 pilots — in October, unless it gets more federal aid.

JetBlue Airways‘ pilots are also set to avoid furloughs until at least May thanks to a cost-cutting agreement between the company and its the pilots’ union. Southwest Airlines has said it doesn’t plan to furlough any workers this year because so many opted for voluntary leaves of absence or buyouts.

Delta Air Lines and its pilots’ union are sparring over potential solutions to avoid job cuts. Atlanta-based Delta on Monday said it plans to furlough 1,941 pilots this fall unless the two parties can agree on a plan. 

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