Monday, September 1, 2008

Continental Airlines to Lay Off Pilots

Continental Airlines says it will be able to avoid furloughing any front-line employees other than pilots.

The Houston-based airline said it has eliminated more than 2,500 full-time positions without resorting to involuntary separations, other than workers fired because of poor performance or because the airline stopped flying to some destinations or reduced routes.

But Continental says it didn't get enough of its 5,000 pilots to take leaves or an early retirement that included a cash incentive.

So it plans to lay off between 140 and 180 pilots. That will begin Sept. 9.

Front-line employees are those who have contact with the public, such as flight attendants and pilots.

Continental also is reducing its management and back-office employment by 300, through retirements and layoffs. A spokeswoman said the carrier was not releasing more information on how much of that downsizing was involuntary.

Continental announced in June that it expected to cut domestic capacity on its mainline jets by 11 percent beginning in September and to eliminate about 3,000 positions because of record-high fuel prices, the weak dollar and the weakening economy.

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