July 14, 2008

Midwest Airlines Seeks Concessions As It Cuts 1,200 Jobs

By Randolph Heaster, The Kansas City Star, Mo.

Jul. 14--Midwest Airlines will reduce its workforce by 1,200 employees as the airline struggles to survive amid record fuel prices.

Midwest, the second busiest carrier at Kansas City International Airport, said the affected employees will represent about 40 percent of its total employment at Midwest and its regional subsidiary, Skyway Airlines.

Midwest said most of the staff cuts are related to the airline's decision last month to retire 12 of its older, less fuel-efficient planes, about one-third of its fleet. The planes will be taken out of service in the fall following the summer travel season.

The number of area Midwest workers who will be laid off was not disclosed immediately. Midwest had about 200 area employees last year before the airline industry began downsizing in recent months to cope with soaring fuel costs.

Midwest has 25 daily departures from KCI, and Skyway has six. Local aviation officials said they expect Midwest's systemwide cuts will significantly affect its Kansas City operations.

The company said it would begin notifying affected employees Monday, with most jobs ended by mid-September. The job cuts will include unionized pilots and flight attendants, said Michael Brophy, a spokesman for Oak Creek, Wis.-based Midwest Air Group Inc. Brophy also said Midwest is continuing talks with unions for pilots and flight attendants to reach deals on concessions to reduce the airline's costs.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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