With COVID-19 grounding much of the nation’s air travel, a local carrier is being forced to reduce staffing.
Indianapolis-based Republic Airways, one of the nation’s largest regional airlines, confirmed Thursday the company has reduced 5 percent of its overall workforce.
The cuts were both voluntary and involuntary, but specific numbers were not immediately available. 34 flight dispatchers are among those without work.
Gary Peterson, the International Vice President for Transport Workers Union of America—a group that represents the 34 flight dispatchers—says he’s not aware of another airline that has furloughed workers and taken CARES Act funding.
"No other airline has involuntary furloughed any employee who is taking CARES Act money," he says. "Even prior to taking CARES Act money they didn’t furlough."
Republic confirmed it accepted funds from the CARES Act, but didn’t immediately provide information on how the company negotiated with the federal government.
Flight dispatchers are employees on the ground who compose flight plans, manage aircraft weight, and coordinate with pilots in the air.
The union says they’re currently in negotiation with Republic.
The carrier says COVID-19 has reduced flight schedules by up to 80 percent.
While Republic’s flight schedule for July and August has increased, airline officials say it is still only 40 percent of what it projected pre-pandemic.