American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, the two largest carriers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, together lost about 35,300 employees last year as the air travel industry grappled with its worst-ever crisis.
American and Southwest each disclosed the employee losses in regulatory filings this month. A combination of voluntary employee separations and retirements contributed to the workforce reductions, spokespeople from both companies said. American also restructured its management team in Fort Worth last year, and that came with a 30 percent headcount reduction for those particular functions.
Last year's losses could have been even worse.
Airlines avoided mass layoffs after the federal government provided financial aid to the industry as part of multiple coronavirus relief packages. In exchange for taking Payroll Support Program funds, the airlines agreed not to conduct furloughs or layoffs.
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