PUBLISHED: 6:17 PM on Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Alaska Airlines to slash flights, jobs
High fuel costs, $50 million loss will lead to 1,000 fewer jobs starting in November
Alaska Airlines announced Friday it will cut nearly 1,000 jobs and slash winter flight schedules due to high fuel prices that have cost the Seattle-based airline tens of millions of dollars in the first half of 2008.

According to Alaska Airlines, which is owned by Seattle-based Alaska Air Group, flight capacity will be cut by 8 percent in November. Low-demand flights will be canceled along with some destinations in California and Mexico.

"The one-two punch of record oil prices and a softening economy, on top of increased competition, has burdened Alaska Air Group with a $50-million loss on an adjusted basis for the first half of this year," said Bill Ayer, CEO of Alaska Air Group, in a statement. "That demands decisive action to ensure the viability of our company. "We are changing our schedule to make sure we're flying the right routes with the right frequency and right aircraft. Regrettably, a reduced schedule means we need fewer employees."

Employee layoffs also will begin in November and continue into 2009. Among the expected layoffs are up to 190 pilots, 350 flight attendants, 35 mechanics and 410 customer support personnel. The reduction is equal to about 10 percent of the airlines workforce.

Alaska Airline is currently negotiating with workers' unions about "early out" programs to reduce the number of employees laid off.