American Airlines has decided to close its flight attendant base after more than 50 years at San Francisco International Airport.
The carrier will relocate almost 400 employees.
“Over the past few years, American’s network and schedule have evolved based on a number of factors, including our size, shifting customer demand and changes to our fleet. As we look at the future of our network, we expect that San Francisco will maintain the same level of flying it does today, but there are no plans to grow San Francisco and no future flying prospects based on our current network strategy,” the airline said in a statement provided to ABC7 News in San Francisco. “Because of that, we’ve made the difficult decision to close our San Francisco flight attendant base. Importantly, any SFO-based flight attendant who wants one will have a spot at another base. This isn’t a decision we take lightly and we’re committed to working with the SFO team to ensure a smooth transition to another base if they choose to continue flying.”
It’s another blow for aviation and another repercussion from the pandemic. While demand for air travel is almost back to normal after two years, carriers are still suffering the consequences of the decision to enhance revenue received the government bailout by saving payroll through buyouts and early retirement offers. As a result, passengers are back but staffing is down.
“It’s a sad day,” Tim Schwartz, Union President for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants for American at SFO, told the television state. “It feels like a kick in the gut. Being told that you’re going to have to go somewhere else is just the heartbreak of every individual that has been here in San Francisco.”
It also puts employees in an unenviable position of having to make a tough decision. American said that nobody would be losing their jobs, but the choices are difficult – remain in San Francisco but train for a new position, relocate to another flight attendant base in another city, or leave the airline and try to latch on elsewhere.
In letter to employees, American Airlines said it will host a series of town hall meetings to help employees navigate the process.
“We’re here to support you,” the airline wrote.
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