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American Airlines to ground half of its fleet next month

Fort Worth, Texas - American Airlines is preparing to ground nearly half of its fleet and canceling 55,000 flights next month, according to an internal message sent to employees.

The airline also expects “demand to fall even more before it gets better," the message stated. The striking numbers in an internal email from American Airlines President Robert Isom include a reduction of international flights by 75% and domestic flights by 30% in April, “with plans to reduce it even further in May.”

The message said American would park 130 widebody and 320 narrowbody planes. The airline has told regulators that its core fleet includes 942 aircraft.

The airline, which is the world's largest, also said it is continuing efforts to reduce the number of employees it pays, by expanding voluntary leave programs and “offering an early out” to employees with at least 15 years of service.

With minimal operations, we need a smaller staff,” Isom wrote.
The note did not disclose any furloughs or layoffs, and the airline has declined to comment on whether it is considering such cuts.