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Friday, 21 September, 2001, 15:40 GMT 16:40 UK
Northwest Airlines cuts 10,000 jobs
Northwest aircraft
Northwest: 'a painful decision'
America's fourth largest airline, Northwest Airlines, is to axe 10,000 jobs, one fifth of its workforce.

The company said it would be permanently reducing its flight schedule by about 20% from 1 October.

Northwest is the latest US carrier to cut jobs and schedules in response to the dramatic drop in passenger numbers following last week's aerial attacks on New York and Washington.

About 100,000 job cuts have been announced by 10 major airlines in the past few days.

The world's biggest carriers, American Airlines and United Airlines, have announced they are laying off 40,000 employees.

Europe's biggest carrier, British Airways, said it will sack 7,000 - about 12% of its workforce.

America's Delta airlines also said it will cut jobs, although it did not announce a specific number.

'Painful decision'

Northwest said it plans to cut about 9,000 contract employees and 1,000 managers through natural wastage, voluntary redundancies and lay-offs.

Chief executive Richard Anderson said: "This is a very painful decision.

"However, the current operating environment dictates that we reduce our flying schedule significantly, which in turn requires a significant reduction in our staffing levels and payroll."

Analysts have estimated that Northwest's reserves are dwindling by about $22m a day largely as a result of the slowdown in air traffic since 11 September.

The airline could get some transitional help from its home state, Minnesota.

While its governor, Jesse Ventura, said there was little the state could do, it would be possible for the state government to refinance the $270m Northwest received a decade ago as part of a bailout package.

Domestic flights

The airline will continue to serve all main domestic US locations.

But the number of flights to individual cities will be reduced.

It is suspending services between Amsterdam and the Indian capital, New Delhi.

The frequency of flights to other international destinations will also be reduced.

"When the economy rebounds and the airline industry recovers, we hope that these employees will exercise their recall rights and rejoin the airline," Mr Anderson said.

The health benefits of the contract employees affected will be extended until 31 December, he said.

See also:

21 Sep 01 | Business
US offers airlines $15bn aid
20 Sep 01 | Business
EU considers aid for airlines
19 Sep 01 | Business
US airlines lose 40,000 more jobs
17 Sep 01 | Business
UK airlines 'need government aid'
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