US Airways Shrinks

US Airways has announced it plans to lay off a thousand employees, about 3% of its workforce, and will cut flights and focus mostly on four hubs: Charlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington, DC.

The airline isn’t cutting all flights to other cities. For example, the hourly NYC-Boston-DC shuttle service will remain unaffected. From the Wall Street Journal:

US Airways, the result of a 2005 merger of American West Airlines and the former US Airways, said it would reduce the number of flights to Las Vegas to 36 from 64 daily departures as a result of increasing fuel prices and weak demand. It also said it would end flights at Colorado Springs, Colo., and Wichita, Kan.

Other changes announced Wednesday include the suspension of five European routes: to London Gatwick; Birmingham, England; Milan, Italy; Shannon, Ireland; and Stockholm, Sweden, from US Airways’ international gateway in Philadelphia. It will also give up its right to fly between Philadelphia and Beijing.

The layoffs should happen “during the first half of 2010.”

“US Airways to Cut 1,000 Jobs, Focus On Hub Cities” [Wall Street Journal]
(Photo: claudiogennari)

Comments

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  1. bloggerX says:

    I’m sure they’ll create additional fees to compensate for the “weak demand” and “rising fuel prices”!

  2. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    How many more fine folks in Pittsburgh will be affected by this, after all the tax breaks USAirways got?

    Let. Them. Fail.

  3. supernova87a says:

    No, let them fail only because they are one of the weakest players in the market currently, and the industry needs one or two more companies to fold (and no new entrants to replace them) to actually make the business (i.e. fares) sustainable.

    There is sometimes such a thing as too free a market.

    • FatLynn says:

      @supernova87a: So your hypothesis is that fares will go up, but so will customer service?

      • RogerTheAlien says:

        @FatLynn: It seems like twisted logic, but there’s actually a really good point in there: if there is less competition, there will be less need to make fares so ridiculously cheap thus undercutting their own bottom line. Consequently, airlines won’t have to skimp on things like good service (though they may anyway because customers now expect less) because they can charge more per person per flight.

        I know it’s ultimately not great for the consumer because we’ll end up paying more. But if you’re like many people that would prefer slightly higer prices and much better service/comfort, then this might be a Heaven-sent.

        • FatLynn says:

          @RogerTheAlien: I don’t think this is true at all. The bottom line is that leisure travelers buy the cheapest flight.

        • danno5-0 says:

          @RogerTheAlien: I disagree totally. I like the cheap fares. To me, airline travel, at least domestic air travel, is just a means of transportation.

          I don’t need great cabin service. Just get me to my destination in basic comfort, safely, and as affordable as possible. I can bring my own bottle of water and a bag lunch–I do not need any special service. People tend to forget how expensive air travel was before deregulation.

          If the flight is longer than 6 hours, then I’ll pay more for comfort and cabin services.

    • StanTheManDean says:

      @supernova87a:

      Damn, you are logical.

    • TacoChuck says:

      @supernova87a: I say let them fail because they are an awful airline. They are the only airline that I will not fly no matter how much cheaper they may be than the next cheapest airline.

  4. Tim says:

    I bet they’re laying off Sully.

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @TCama: in one of his interviews, he was talking about how the pilots had received pay cuts, or benefits cuts, or were required to work more hours…

  5. shepd says:

    33,000 employees is actually more than I expected…

  6. LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

    Given all of the horrible experiences I’ve had with US Scareways, I’m not shocked by this news. Their employees in Charlotte, NC would suffer but I’d almost be happy to see these guys go out of business.

  7. wcnghj says:

    “Passengers, I’m not sure why the cabin has gotten this hot, I called him[the pilot] and he’s trying to find out what is up.”

    Actual quote from a US Air FA, on a flight I was on.

  8. H3ion says:

    FLASH – US Airways announced today that it was lowering fares, expanding leg room, serving free alcohol, and dropping all extra fees. The president of US Airways made his announcement from his room at the Sunny Farms Hospital for the Insane.

  9. dumblonde says:

    I have no idea why but when I first read the headline I thought it said US Airways Stinks.
    My opinion of most airlines is the lowest of the low.

  10. ElizabethD says:

    Why is the Aflac duck in this post? Inquiring squirrels want to know.

  11. badgeman46 says:

    Usairways, no one likes you. You charge for water, if you could you’d charge to take a #2. Just go bankrupt already. I stopped flying you 2 years ago. I’m much happier now. Southwest is the bomb. Actually I think I’d fly Aeroflot before I would fly you again.

    • danno5-0 says:

      @badgeman46: Wow! Now that’s a statement. You know Aeroflot is better known as AeroFlop! I hope you are talking about Aeroflot post Soviet Union breakup?!

  12. Steven Francis says:

    The prices of fuel is rising anything. So they have no other option rather than to lay-off. But what the employees will do. Will they have to search for an alternative job or they will be given some assurance by the US airways. This recession has given an excuse to many companies to do whatever they want and then blame on the recession.

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @Steven Francis: well, if they’re currently flying 64 partially-filled flights to Vegas, do you want them to continue to spend money on the flights?
      In the airline business, a full plane is one that is matching it’s maximum potential for profits. a partially filled plane ne not maximizing profits. If US Air can maximize their profits by flying fewer flights, why shouldn’t they?

      On a side note, interesting to see people complaining about US Air laying off people, yet at the same time wishing for them to fail altogether.

      Say US Air lays off 3% of it’s workforce, but is then able to stay out of bankruptcy. That means that 97% of the workforce is still employed, right?
      If US Air fails altogether, 100% of the workforce is unemployed, 0% remain employed with US Air. Granted, some of the other airlines will pick up some of the unemployeds, but nowhere near the 97% that US Air would otherwise keep on staff.

      • danno5-0 says:

        @gStein_has joined the star bandwagon:
        gStein, very good post. To add, it’s usually in a company’s best interest to keep people employed and to grow so long as the market can support that growth. The converse is also true–companies tend to shrink in recessions–that’s why its call a recession, and unfortunately sometimes have to lay people off. I myself, have been a casualty of this recession!

        So, Steven Francis, I’m not sure the point of your post, but hopefully Gstien and I have helped you gain some clarity on this subject.

      • floraposte says:

        @gStein_has joined the star bandwagon: A friend of mine who travels from Chicago to DC regularly noted that they’d put a regional jet on the route for the first time in her experience. A fairly sensible way to deal with decreased volume, if you’ve got the aircraft.

  13. boomerang86 says:

    That company is flying one of the oldest, least fuel efficient jet fleets in the industry. If crude goes much higher, they will be toast.

    Sadly they currently fly the busiest schedule out of my local airport, SWF (even though it’s just regional jets to PHL). Not a total pullout, but I suspect they’ll drop some flights there.

  14. TheRealAbsurdist says:

    Death watch time yet?

  15. colorisnteverything says:

    Wow. Glad I decided not to fly US Airways. Wouldn’t want to endorse such a practice. I am flying to an academic conference next week and needed to get as cheap a seat as possible. There was only a couple dollar difference between Continental and US Air. I flew Continental.

  16. bilge says:

    No Beijing route? I guess we’re not going to see an A340 in US colors anytime soon. :-(