Alaska Airlines says 331 Anchorage employees may face layoffs as part of sweeping job cuts

The Alaska Airlines check-in counter at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
Alaska Airlines check-in at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. (Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)

Alaska Airlines is warning that about 330 of its Anchorage workers may face permanent layoffs on Oct. 1 as part of sweeping, company-wide job cuts driven by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Reducing our workforce is one of the hardest realities of this crisis,” said a statement from the airline.

Oct. 1 is the day after the federal government’s multi-billion dollar payroll support program is set to expire. Airline union leaders are pushing Congress to extend the program to keep tens of thousands of their workers employed as the pandemic pummels travel, The Washington Post reported

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Alaska Airlines says that, across the company, 4,200 workers may be furloughed or laid off beginning in October — 331 of them tied to Anchorage. That’s about 26% of the airline’s workforce in the city, said Alaska Airlines spokesman Tim Thompson. 

The airline alerted state and local governments of the layoffs last week. The jobs up for elimination include 135 Anchorage flight attendants and 76 customer service agents plus maintenance technicians and ramp service workers, according to the notice.

By Tuesday, Alaska Airlines had not filed any other recent notices with the state alerting it of major layoffs in other Alaska communities.

Thompson said the number of layoffs may be lower come Oct. 1. He said he did not have information about how the layoffs may impact flights and travel in the state.

The airline says none of its pilots will be involuntarily furloughed because of a combination of voluntary leave and early retirement.

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