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Thursday, 22 November, 2001, 09:33 GMT
Round-up: Aviation in crisis
The aviation industry has been hit hard by the 11 September terrorist attacks on the US, although, in truth, many airlines were already under severe pressure from falling demand and ill-judged investments.

The number of job cuts announced is now well over 100,000, routes have been slashed and several European carriers are barely clinging to life.

The turmoil in the industry prompted the European Commission to break its own trade guidelines and permit limited state aid for carriers.

In September the US agreed a $15bn aid package for its airlines.

BBC News Online has this round-up of the major announcements made so far.


  • Ireland's main airline Aer Lingus, highly dependent on transatlantic routes, announced that it was to cut its operations by 25%, sack 2,500 or 40% of its workers, and make more than 600 temporary staff redundant. The firm has also slashed prices to fend of competition from budget airline Ryanair.

  • Air Canada announced 5,000 fresh job cuts on top of 4,000 already announced in August. The airline said it was facing a "catastrophic" downturn in trade that was forcing it to mothball 84 planes as well as eliminate one quarter of all its jobs. It also pleaded for state aid.

  • Air New Zealand was rescued from bankruptcy after an emergency cash injection from the New Zealand government, but it has lurched from crisis to crisis over the past few months.

  • Alitalia reduced its head count by 2,500, said it was selling or mothballing 12 planes including four jumbos and stopped all new plane orders. The action was aimed at limiting already galloping losses.

  • American Airlines owner AMR Corporation cut 20,000 jobs, shared between American and a number of smaller subsidiaries. American reduced its schedule by 20%, but has not yet said anything about its plans to merge some operations with British Airways.

  • Japan's second-largest carrier, All-Nippon Airways (ANA), saw profits almost halve in the first half of the year, blaming the increased cost of flying as well as lower demand. The airline said it was cutting 1,080 staff in a bid to slash costs by some $250m over the next year-and-a-half.
  • Austrian Airlines logo
    Austrian Airlines has said it is to cut 800 jobs by the end of 2002 and its management is to take a 15% pay cut next year. The airline also warned that further measures may have to be taken.

  • Bankrupt Australian budget carrier Ansett is back in the air after administrators took control. The aim is to revive the debt-wracked group as a "no frills" operation, mainly serving the Asian market.

  • Aircraft giant Boeing plans to cut up to 30,000 jobs by the end of next year. Its order book is heavily dependent on demand from US airlines, most of which have put spending plans on hold.

  • Norwegian airline Braathens is to cut 20% of its flights and up to 800 of its 4,000 staff. Braathens agreed to be taken over by the Scandinavian airline SAS earlier this year. But the deal was struck before September's terrorist attacks, and it is still not clear if SAS will go ahead with the takeover.

  • BAA the UK's main airports operator, said it was possible its profits would fall by a fifth because of the slump in air travel. But it said turmoil in the industry made it impossible to make an accurate forecast.

  • British Airways added 5,200 job cuts to 1,800 already announced. It is withdrawing 20 aircraft and cutting its schedule by 10%. Top managers are taking pay cuts. Like Aer Lingus, BA is heavily reliant on transatlantic trade.

  • BMI British Midland is axing 600 jobs - over 10% of its workforce - and grounding eight of its 62 aircraft for the winter. BMI has long aspired to launching direct services between Heathrow and New York.
  • Air Canada logo
    Canada 3000, Canada's second largest airline, has filed for bankruptcy protection and grounded its entire fleet. The company, which leased all its aircraft and made two major acquisitions earlier this year, was hard hit by a 30% drop in passenger numbers after the September 11 attacks.

  • Continental cut 12,000 staff, reduced its schedule by 20% and postponed the flotation of its ExpressJet unit. The airline said its load factor - the percentage measure of seat occupancy - was down 11% after the attacks.

  • Delta slashed 13,000 jobs and trimmed capacity 15%, saying it had lost $1bn in the two weeks following the attacks. The airline hopes for a boost from the re-opening of Reagan National airport near Washington DC, one of its key hubs.

  • Finland's Finnair said it would post a full-year loss due to a huge drop in in demand in key market areas. Finnair added in a statement it expected its third-quarter result to be considerably down year-on-year and expected passenger volumes to fall more than it had initially expected.
  • Gill Airways, which flies from Newcastle to Belfast City Airport, has ceased trading, blaming the uncertainty created by events in the US.

  • Avionics manufacturer Honeywell said it would eliminate 16,000 jobs, double the amount previously announced. The firm was already suffering from the economic slowdown, but depends on aviation-industry demand for a substantial chunk of its revenues.

  • Spain's Iberia is cutting 3,000 jobs after earlier announcing an 11% reduction in flights and an eight euro surcharge on all passengers. The airline has confirmed a 10% volume fall since the attacks on the US.

  • Japan's biggest carrier JAL said that the crisis had pushed its full-year forecast result from profit into loss. The carrier called for aid from the Japanese government, and slapped a surcharge on domestic and international flights in order to defray insurance costs.

  • Dutch airline KLM is shedding 2,500 jobs and asking remaining employees to work shorter hours and take "substantial" pay cuts. KLM hopes to save some 60m euros by the pay cuts alone, which extend all the way through to top management.

  • Germany's Lufthansa cut three of its transatlantic routes and said it was freezing hiring.
  • Midway Airlines said it would abandon financial restructuring plans and proceed with bankruptcy immediately.

  • Northwest Airlines, America's fourth largest airline, said it was axeing 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 plans to cut about 9,000 contract employees and 1,000 managers through natural wastage, voluntary redundancies and lay-offs.

  • British aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce announced 5,000 job cuts, 3,800 of which would be made at its UK plants. The cuts came at the end of a thorough review of its business in the light of the post-attack slump in aviation demand. The firm said the sales at its civil aerospace division would fall by 25% next year, representing a loss of 1bn.

  • Belgium's Sabena filed for bankruptcy after it failed to find new investors. The airline was plunged into trouble when its part-owner Swissair failed to come up with funds for a promised rescue package. The government is hoping to continue some of Sabena's services under its regional subsidiary, Delta Air Transport.

  • Scandinavia's SAS, has said it will cut 13% of its workforce as it tries to reduce costs. Around 2,500 workers will be laid off, on top of up to 1,100 job cuts already announced. A tragedy worsened the airlines situation, when on 8 October an SAS jet crashed at a Milanese airport, killing more than 100 people.

  • Belfast-based Shorts Brothers, a subsidiary of Canadian Bombardier, announced 800 layoffs and warned it might have to make another 1,100 job cuts next year unless trading improved markedly. Parent company Bombardier has announced a total of 3,800 job losses so far this year.

  • Swissair has been saved, for now, by a 1.8bn government-brokered rescue deal, which will see two-thirds of its fleet transferred into low-cost subsidiary Crossair, effectively turning Crossair into Switzerland's flag carrier. The deal is backed by state and private finance. On 9 October, the airline announced 9,000 job cuts.

  • United Airlines announced 20,000 job losses and said it was cutting its schedule by 20%. In a letter to staff in mid-October, the company's chief executive warned that the firm was "haemorrhaging" cash, and would "perish" next year, unless the situation improved.

  • US Airways cut 11,000 jobs and slashed its schedule by 23%. The airline was the first to fly out of the re-opened Reagan National airport, and has nurtured plans to merge with United Airlines earlier in the year.

  • British carrier Virgin Atlantic shed 1,200 jobs, partly because of expected downturn on its crucial transatlantic routes.
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