American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) has announced plans to lay off and furlough a total of 19,000 staff members after October 1 in light of the ongoing slump in demand and a lack of additional federal payroll support.

While the planned redundancies are smaller than the previously indicated 25,000 jobs, they still represent 30% of the carrier's workforce. Layoff notices have already been sent to 17,500 unionised employees. The involuntary furloughs comes on top of voluntary measures, which by October will have reduced the headcount at the airline by 23,500.

Chief Executive Doug Parker and President Robert Isom said in a letter to staff that layoffs could still be avoided if the federal government extends its payroll support programme, which is scheduled to expire at the end of September 2020.

"When [the federal support] was enacted in March, it was assumed that by September 30, the virus would be under control and demand for air travel would have returned. That is obviously not the case. Based on current demand levels, we at American now plan to fly less than 50% of our airline in the fourth quarter, with long-haul international particularly reduced to only 25% of 2019 levels," Parker and Isom said.

The total number of 19,000 employees due to be laid off includes around 1,600 pilots.

In turn, Delta Air Lines (DL, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) said it was planning to send layoff notices to 1,941 pilots, effective October, unless it reaches a deal with unions concerning salary cuts. Pilots with the lowest experience at Delta, employed after July 2017, would be the first to be let go. Delta previously warned that it would need to reduce its pilot roster by around 2,500 positions. Including the numbers for September 2020, around 1,800 pilots have voluntarily left the airline.

United Airlines (UA, Chicago O'Hare) Senior Vice-President (Flight Operations) Bryan Quigley wrote in an internal memo that the airline would reduce its pilot roster by around 2,850 positions in October without further federal support.

However, in a rare case of good news, Spirit Airlines (NK, Fort Lauderdale Int'l) said that it had reached a deal with its pilots to reduce working hours but avoid around 600 previously planned furloughs. The airline warned of potential cuts affecting around 2,500 positions but thanks to the agreement it would reduce this number to "a fraction".

JetBlue Airways (B6, New York JFK) and Southwest Airlines (WN, Dallas Love Field) said earlier that thanks to their respective deals with unions they would avoid involuntary furloughs in 2020 even with no federal support beyond September.

The extension of the current federal support has been blocked due to a lack of consensus in Congress. However, President Donald Trump has repeatedly signalled his willingness to intervene and protect US carriers.