American Airlines says it will start furloughing 19,000 workers Thursday


American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said the company will begin furloughs and layoffs for 19,000 workers on Thursday as planned after congressional leaders failed to come to an agreement on more payroll support for the struggling industry.

Talks in Washington were continuing, however, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin reported progress in a 90-minute meeting Wednesday.

Parker and other airline executives have pinned hopes on the federal government coming through with more aid to cover company payrolls. But despite bipartisan support and efforts from the White House, it’s mired in the larger pandemic aid package in Congress.

“You are all well aware that tomorrow, Oct. 1, the Payroll Support Program under the CARES Act is set to expire,” Parker said in a letter to employees Wednesday evening “As a result, tomorrow, we will begin the difficult process of furloughing 19,000 of our hardworking and dedicated colleagues.”

The anticipated furloughs amount to about 16% of the company’s workforce.

Planes from American Airlines outside Terminal B at DFW International Airport.