Hawaiian Airlines warns more layoffs to come

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaiian Airlines may have to lay off hundreds of workers once again despite hopes of making a comeback.

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In a notice to the labor department, the airline said it was able to bring back workers with the additional cares funds it was receiving. That money runs out at the end of March, however.

In the notice, Hawaiian Airlines said:

“Despite our ongoing cost-saving efforts and changes to our business to generate more revenue, the company does not anticipate that is will be able to retain all employees beyond March 31.”

Hawaiian said it is planning to furlough 647 flight attendants and 99 pilots effective April 1. It plans to furlough an additional 64 workers, on June 1, mainly ramp and customer service agents on the neighbor islands.

“It’s really emotional, you know, and it’s kind of the way it’s kind of all unfolding right now, it’s difficult,” said Joni Kashiwai, Association of Flight Attendants MEC president.

She said some workers that just returned to work received warn notices.

“At the same time that they’re just kind of getting back to work, they’re also getting their warn notices of a potential furlough again.”

Kashiwai said, discussions are ongoing between the unions and Hawaiian Airlines on the furloughs.

“Our goal is to have no involuntary furloughs,” said Kahiwai. “If it could be somebody that, doesn’t need to work or you know needs time off for you know whatever reason like caring for family members … If you can opt to take some time off you can save somebody’s job.”

The airline adds that it is hopeful that increased travel demand and voluntary leaves or early outs will offset involuntary furloughs.

KHON2 reached out to Hawaiian Airlines pilot Rep. Kai Kahele. His office said he will support an extension to CARES Act funding for Payment Support Program for U.S. airlines through Sept., 2021. The program provides furlough protections for workers. This extension has yet to be passed in Congress, however.

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