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A Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330-200 taxiing in Boston. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Ben Suskind)

Hawaiian Airlines Announces Furloughs

While leisure travel has had a slight increase in the United States over the past few months, one state and its main airline have not been able to see the same growth. Hawaiian Airlines has suffered since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, following a lack of demand and strict lockdown rules and protocols enforced by the state of Hawaii.

According to the Honolulu Star Advisor, the carrier announced that it will be issuing furlough notices to over 2,000 employees across different workgroups. While at least 450 of the furloughs were taken voluntarily, there could be more than 1,500 involuntary furloughs.

After reporting a second-quarter net loss of almost $107 million in July, the Honolulu-based carrier warned that more than 2,000 employees would be cut. At the time, it was unknown what union-based jobs would see the largest impact, but the most recent news clears things up.

Of the nearly 2,000 furloughs, pilots make up 173, with flight attendants accounting for another 816. Of those laid off, 101 of the pilots and 341 of the flight attendants were involuntary.

While the official notices have not been sent out yet, the airline also announced that union members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Works (IAM) and the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) would receive notices in September. While the number of involuntary layoffs is still unknown for these unions, IAM will account for 1,034 of the layoffs and TWU will account for jobs lost.

In a message to employees, CEO Peter Ingram, said, “This week we have begun involuntary separations with our non-contact employees following the acceptance of voluntary separation packages over the past few weeks. This is an incredibly painful time for our company and for all of us personally.”

The ending of the CARES Act and its associated payroll relief benefits has created financial issues for numerous airlines, with Hawaiian becoming the latest to announce furloughs, following the likes of American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. While some airlines, such as Spirit Airlines, have been able to avoid furloughs for pilots, Hawaiian was not quite as fortunate.

In July, Ingram stated the extension of the CARES Act would prevent Hawaiian from having to make as many cuts. Other airlines have been pushing for a second relief package to continue to help cover payroll costs and avoid having to reduce workforce numbers by significant amounts.

While the news of layoffs was somber, Ingram did state there was a future for Hawaiian Airlines saying, “The airline that is of these islands will continue. As we move forward, I expect more than just a recovery – Hawaiian Airlines will thrive again.”

Jace Moseley
Jace Moseley
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