Alaska Airlines expects 3,000 jobs cut by 2021 amid pandemic

SEATTLE -- Alaska Airlines plans to cut 3,000 jobs by next year amid the downturn in revenue for airline travel after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a company statement, the airline says job cuts are anticipated to start in October 2020. Currently, the company has approximately 23,000 people working nationwide.

Since March, Alaska Airlines has reduced scheduled flights by 80%, in addition to contractor cuts, executive pay, and other costs.

The company also said the airline CEO and president will not receive a salary through September 2020. Other company leaders are taking pay cuts ranging from 20-50%.

Alaska Air Group President Ben Minicucci told The Seattle Times that operations will likely not return to pre-COVID-19 levels for the next 12 months.

In April, the U.S. government gave the airline $992 million in relief aid. According to The Times, that money went to helping support budgets for remaining jobs through the end of September.

Alaska has placed more than 6,000 employees so far on some form of voluntary leave, and an additional 1,800 on flexible COVID-19-related leave due to school closures, family or other situations.

The company said they are currently working with labor unions to carve out the next several months and what that will look like.

On Wednesday, the company also announced new safety and health measures inside airports.

The company will be implementing pre-travel wellness agreements, requiring passengers to assert that they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms or have come into contact with anyone within the previous 72 hours.

Through July 31, middles seats aboard Alaska Airlines airplanes will be blocked off to encourage social distancing.

Flights will also be capped at 65% capacity. Face coverings are required both inside the airport and on flights.