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Alaska Airlines says 330 Anchorage employees may face layoffs as part of sweeping job cuts

was written by Tegan Hanlon, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage , 2020-08-04 20:00:22

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The Alaska Airlines check-in counter at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
Alaska Airlines check-in at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. (Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)

Alaska Airlines is warning that about 330 of its Anchorage workers may face permanent layoffs on Oct. 1 as part of sweeping, company-wide job cuts driven by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Reducing our workforce is one of the hardest realities of this crisis,” said a statement from the airline.

Oct. 1 is the day after the federal government’s multi-billion dollar payroll support program is set to expire. Airline union leaders are pushing Congress to extend the program to keep tens of thousands of their workers employed as the pandemic pummels travel, The Washington Post reported. 

SEE ALSO: With Alaska at ‘income cliff,’ labor calls on US senators to fight for unemployment benefits

Alaska Airlines says that, across the company, 4,200 workers may be furloughed or laid off beginning in October — 331 of them tied to Anchorage. That’s about 26% of the airline’s workforce in the city, said Alaska Airlines spokesman Tim Thompson. 

The airline alerted state and local governments of the layoffs last week. The jobs up for elimination include 135 Anchorage flight attendants and 76 customer service agents plus maintenance technicians and ramp service workers, said the notice.

The number of layoffs may be lower come Oct. 1, Thompson said.

On Tuesday, Thompson said he did not have information about how the layoffs may impact flights and travel in the state.

The airline says none of its pilots will be involuntarily furloughed because of a combination of voluntary leave and early retirement.

SEE ALSO: For one Anchorage restaurant, a defiant opening brings in crowds

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Gates of the Arctic National Park. It encompasses an eye popping 8 million acres of remote wilds located above the Arctic Circle. There are no roads or even trails into the park. Air taxi service is offered from the villages of Bettles, Coldfoot and Kotzebue. The park is also accessible by foot from the Dalton Highway. This glorious national park offers untouched wilderness, glacier valleys, rugged mountains and miles of arctic tundra. In order to experience the wonders the park has to offer visitors should be ready for hiking, and backcountry outdoor camping. Visitors have to be self-sufficient and knowledgeable, as there are no services or even established trails available. Ambitious visitors may value the isolation and the discovery of true wilderness offered in the Gates of the Arctic National Park.