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American Airlines to cut 219 employees in Texas

American Airlines plans to lay off as many as 219 employees at airports around Texas, including 158 at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, according to a letter filed with the state.

The cuts will begin on our around Sept. 5, the Fort Worth-based company said in a letter required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. American, which is the largest employer in Tarrant County, employs 23,000 full-time equivalents.

"It is quite clear that we can no longer operate our airline at its current levels," Kevin Cox, the airline’s vice president of state and community affairs, said in the letter dated July 7. "This reality has forced us to make some very tough, but immediate decisions to secure American’s future. We must act quickly (to) reduce our operating schedule for the coming months and, as a result, will need fewer people to operate the airline."

The world’s largest airline, which employs a total of 85,000, said last week that it would eliminate up to 6,800 jobs company-wide this year as it grapples with soaring fuel costs and a struggling economy.

But the so-called WARN letter for the first time details how many jobs could be lost locally.

The largest chunk would be the 69 fleet service and and crew chief jobs slated for elimination. The other jobs are:

36 mechanics

28 airport agents

19 management jobs

6 support staff

But Tim Wagner, a spokesman at American, said the final number of layoffs could vary.

"The actual numbers of those who will leave the company could change depending on how many of our folks accept the various voluntary out packages we are offering," Wagner wrote today in an e-mail.

Layoffs at American’s other Texas operations include the Austin, El Paso, San Antonio and Houston Intercontinental airports. The total number of job layoffs spelled out in Cox's letter add up to 209. The other 10 jobs were not identified.

Gerard Arpey, the chief executive of American, told employees in an e-mail last week that employee reductions would match the airline's planned 8 percent capacity cuts. That would amount to about 1,840 jobs in North Texas.

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