June 25, 2008

Continental, Pilots OK Ways to Trim Workforce


HOUSTON Continental Airlines Inc. and its pilots union have agreed on retirement incentives and other options to help trim the number of furloughs as the carrier cuts 3,000 jobs amid soaring jet fuel prices.

The plan also includes leaves of absence and scheduling modifications, Amy Flanagan, a spokeswoman for Continental's 5,100- member chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association, said Tuesday.

Pilots were being briefed starting Tuesday, she said, without immediately giving specifics.

"We don't know how many pilots will take any of the options offered, or if this will totally eliminate the need for any furloughs," Flanagan said in an e-mail.

The pilot accord expands Continental's efforts to encourage voluntary departures among its 45,000 employees as it grounds 67 jets to cut U.S. seating capacity by 11 percent starting in September.

Houston-based Continental is offering health insurance coverage and free travel privileges to other workers.

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