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Hawaiian Airlines Issues Furlough Notices

TravelPulse logo TravelPulse 9/1/2020 Rich Thomaselli
a large passenger jet flying through a blue sky: Hawaiian Airlines plane landing at Los Angeles International Airport © mixmotive/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus Hawaiian Airlines plane landing at Los Angeles International Airport

Pilots and flight attendants are among the first of nearly 1,000 employees to be laid off from Hawaiian Airlines as the carrier on Monday announced it was sending out furlough notices.

Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO Peter Ingram made the announcement on Monday in a message to workers, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

“This week we have begun involuntary separations with our non-contract employees following the acceptance of voluntary separation packages over the past few weeks,” Ingram said in a video message to employees. “This is an incredibly painful time for our company and for all of us personally.”

In a letter, Ingram said furlough notices would be sent out to 816 flight attendants, 341 of which will be involuntary. Hawaiian is also cutting 173 pilots, including 101 that are involuntary.

Unfortunately, that’s just the first round of cuts.


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The airline also said furlough notices would be sent in mid-September to union members with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU). Hawaiian plans to reduce IAM workers by about 1,034 jobs and TWU workers by 18. It is not known yet which cuts will be voluntary and which will be involuntary.

“I haven’t seen anything in that time that compares to the way that this pandemic has hobbled our business,” said Ingram, a 26-year veteran of the industry. “We’re forced to take steps now that just a few months ago were unthinkable. I’m sure for many of you there is sadness, some disbelief and anxiety for the future. I share those emotions and more.”

Hawaiian is one of the state’s largest employers and prior to COVID-19 was enjoying a long growth period. From 2005 to March of this year, the Star-Advertiser reported the carrier had gone from about 3,500 to 7,500 employees, about 90 percent of whom were working in Hawaii.

But the state’s tourism has been devastated by the pandemic. A 14-day quarantine is in place on visitors arriving to the islands until Oct. 1, and parks and beaches have been closed.

Ingram said last month that Hawaiian would survive, “but not as we were. Not for a while.”

“The airline that is of these islands will continue and those that are leaving our company are still a part of our extended ohana,” he said. “As we move forward, I expect more than just a recovery— Hawaiian airlines will thrive again.”

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