While many were taken aback by the surprising American Airlines announcement of its partnership with JetBlue, the company’s pilots met the news with harsh criticism.
“We cannot imagine a more horridly timed announcement the day after announcing thousands of furloughs,” said the head of communications of Allied Pilots Association (APA) Dennis Tajer. Adding salt to the wound, according to him is that JetBlue pilots secured a no-furlough guarantee, while 2,500 of American Airlines’ pilots “are being shown the door.”
“Wow, it’s surreal,” added Tajer.
On July 15, the Dallas/Fort Worth-based company announced that it would send out warnings to over 25,000 employees that they might be out of a job come October 1, 2020, when the CARES Act-imposed regulation forbidding involuntary layoffs will expire.
“From the time the CARES Act was signed in March, we had a stated goal of avoiding furloughs because we believed demand for air travel would steadily rebound by Oct. 1 as the impact of COVID-19 dissipated,” at the time stated the chief executive at American Airlines Doug Parker.
“That, unfortunately, has not been the case.”
“As a result, we currently anticipate having over 20,000 more team members on payroll than we will need to operate our smaller schedule this fall,” added Parker.
A day later, the company announced a partnership agreement with JetBlue to improve its positions in the United States’ Northeast, particularly New York. American Airlines plans to expand in New York with the addition of JetBlue supplementing its international network, creating more choices for its customers, according to the carrier. In addition, the two parties that signed the agreement noted that this will help them recover in a post-COVID-19 world.