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Fri, Oct 05, 2007

More Heavy Iron Flees Steel City

US Airways To Reduce Ops, Cut Workforce In Pittsburgh

Citing a need to accept "economic realities," on Thursday US Airways CEO Doug Parker said the airline will drastically cut back its operations in Pittsburgh, PA -- a move that will both reduce flights, and affect nearly 1,000 jobs.

The Arizona Republic reports the Tempe-based airline plans to reduce the number of mainline flights from Pittsburgh International from 31 to 22 -- a drop of almost 30 percent -- starting in January. Regional operations under the US Airways Express banner will shrink even more -- from 77 to about 46.

It isn't hard to see why US Airways is making the move to reduce Pittsburgh's status. The carrier has lost $40 million over the past year in the city.

"We need to acknowledge the economic realities of today and move forward so that our Pittsburgh service provides a positive contribution to our system as a whole," Parker told US Airways workers in Pittsburgh Thursday morning.

Once a hub for the old US Airways, Pittsburgh saw its status drastically reduced following the 2005 merger of US Airways and America West. That move came after the city suffered through two US Air bankruptcies, with the resulting schedule cuts and employee layoffs.

The latest decision by US Airways to cut back operations at PIT will eliminate 450 jobs in Pittsburgh. Parker said those workers will be offered jobs elsewhere with the airline.

Closures of the airline's pilot and flight attendant bases in the city will remove another 500 jobs from Pittsburgh. Those workers will now have to commute to other cities on the East Coast -- something the airline expects most of them will do.

Despite the reduction in Pittsburgh's "focus city" status at US Airways, the carrier will remain the largest presence at PIT. The city still houses a US Airways maintenance center, and was recently selected over Phoenix for the site of a new US Airways flight operations center.

FMI: www.usairways.com, www.pitairport.com/

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