US regional carrier Republic Airways is preparing to send WARN notices out to 40% of their workforce ahead of the September 30th sunset date for federal aid. The airline flies regional jets on behalf of major US airlines. With mainline carriers downsizing, it would not be surprising to see Republic Airways furlough some of its workforce, but probably not 40% of it.
Preparing for furloughs
View from the Wing reports that Republic Airways is preparing to send WARN notices to 40% of its workforce comprised of pilots, maintenance personnel, administrative and operational employees, and flight attendants. Those furloughs would be expected to come from October 1st.
Federal law requires large employers like airlines to provide a 60-day notice of furloughs. These WARN notices meet that requirement. Receiving a WARN notice does not mean that a job is being cut. It does, however, mean that a position may be reduced. Essentially, it is a warning to be prepared for the potential of a furlough, but not necessarily a guarantee that a person’s job will not exist.
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Likely to be fewer furloughs
Furloughing 40% of the airline’s workforce would be a massive blow to the carrier. While it may be emerging smaller from the current crisis, it would be unlikely to be a whole 40% smaller.
Sending out these notices is required by law. However, the law does not state that those who receive the notifications have to be let go. But, a person who does not receive a notice cannot be let go without receiving a warning.
Sending out notices at the start to a high number of employees means that the carrier has some extra flexibility when it comes to furloughing employees. While it is unclear exactly how many people will be furloughed at the end of it, it will most likely not be 40%.
The numbers now also give the airline a chance to work with unions to find options. Some employees may consider early retirements or voluntary departures, which would reduce the number of furloughs and likely bring some employees a beefed-up exit package.
The other thing that these notices could be geared towards is trying to push the federal government for more funding. It appears that the government is not interested in providing billions of dollars to the airlines– at least not without additional guarantees like blocked seats.
Who are Republic Airways, and why would they need to furlough?
Republic Airways is a regional carrier that operates on behalf of major US airlines. The airline only operates Embraer E170 and E175 aircraft for United, Delta, and American. The problem is, however, Republic has limited flying potential.
The airline cannot fly as much and wherever it wants. Instead, it has to work with airlines and can only fly a certain percentage of the airline’s operations. With mainline carriers becoming smaller, Republic will have to do less flying. This is what will drive the carrier’s need to furlough employees.
Do you think Republic Airways will furlough 40% of its employees? What do you make of the situation? Let us know in the comments!