Local airline mechanic braces for possible furloughs

Local airline mechanic braces for possible furloughs

CHARLOTTE — A Charlotte-based American Airlines mechanic is one of thousands across the nation who could be furloughed by the company in just a couple of months.

That mechanic said he saw the writing on the wall as soon as the pandemic hit.

American Airlines said revenue dropped 80% last month compared to a year ago.

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More than 3,000 mechanics are among those facing furloughs.

Mechanics inspect and repair the planes that carry hundreds of lives daily.

Now' thousands of American mechanics are facing furloughs.

“It’s gonna be tough for somebody with a young family, but that’s the good thing they have youth on their side,” said a senior mechanic, who wished to remain anonymous.

He said he's been with the company for years, but his heart goes out to his younger colleagues.

“I feel awful for them right now, but hopefully, hopefully, things are going to be coming back soon, and they’ll get back as quickly as possible,” he said.

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The company has said it could layoff or furlough 25,000 employees on Oct. 1, due to a decrease in air travel.

That number could include 22% of maintenance workers.

Some question if the decision would increase reliance on third-party mechanics which would negatively impact safety.

“It makes me nervous when I get on a plane, and I think of some mechanic with little or no experience working on these planes,” a customer said.

American Airlines says it has 20,000 employees it doesn't need for fall schedule

Reporter Tina Terry asked American about that possibility and if furlough plans could change.

“Safety is at the forefront of what we do as a company and our Aircraft Maintenance Technicians are some of the best professionals in the industry,” American Airlines said in a statement. “Although American has issued WARN notices to impacted team members across the system, we hope to reduce the actual number of furloughs significantly through enhanced leaves and early-out programs for represented work groups.”

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The mechanic said there could be some union agreements in place that could prevent excessive third-party contracts.