Hawaiian Airlines announces furlough of flight attendants, pilots, maintenance workers

Hundreds of the furloughs are currently involuntary, according to reports

Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram announced on Monday the furlough of thousands of workers amid reduced demand for travel because of the ongoing coronavirus health crisis.

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Ingram said the furlough notices for pilots and flight attendants would be issued that day, with furlough notices planned for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) in September. All are expected to take effect by the beginning of October, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

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Of the 2,041 furlough notices Hawaiian Airlines will issue, 341 of the 816 furloughs planned for flight attendants are said to be involuntary, while 101 of the 173 pilot furloughs are involuntary. The number of involuntary furloughs among the IAM and TWU unions (1,034 and 18, respectively) was not specified.

“These reductions to our teams are painful and stressful for all of us, but necessary to ensure our business survives and is poised to respond to opportunities when we are able to resume a more normal flight schedule,” Ingram said in a message to employees on Monday, according to Hawaii News Now.

In a statement issued directly to Hawaii News Now, Ingram also said Hawaiian Airlines, which is not nearing bankruptcy, will try to “design voluntary separations [or] early retirement” for the furloughed workers.

“These reductions to our teams are painful and stressful for all of us, but necessary to ensure our business survives and is poised to respond to opportunities when we are able to resume a more normal flight schedule,” Ingram said in a message to emp (iStock)

A representative for Hawaiian Airlines was not immediately available to comment.

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Last week, a union representing flight attendants for Hawaiian Airlines warned of “mass job loss” in October if Congress doesn’t extend a support program for airline employees.

“There is overwhelming bipartisan support to continue this program because without it every community will suffer and millions more will have no way to care for themselves or their families,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, in a statement released Aug. 25.

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), too, has previously said it was working with a number of airlines to avoid employee furloughs.