Alaska Airlines says 331 Anchorage employees face job cuts

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Airlines said 331 employees among the company's workforce in Anchorage may lose their jobs on Oct. 1.

The company said the Anchorage layoffs are part of company-wide job cuts because of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, Alaska Public Media reported Tuesday.

Alaska Airlines said 4,200 workers may be furloughed or laid off across the company beginning in October.

The 331 workers account for about 26% of the airline’s workforce in Anchorage, company spokesman Tim Thompson said.

Thompson said the number of layoffs may be lowered by Oct. 1, a day after the federal government’s multi-billion dollar payroll support program is set to expire.

The airline announced in an alert to state and local governments that the jobs being considered for elimination include 135 Anchorage flight attendants, 76 customer service agents and maintenance technicians and ramp service workers.

Pilots will not be furloughed because of a combination of voluntary leave and early retirement, the airline said.

Thompson said Tuesday he did not have information about how the layoffs may impact flights.

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

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.