US Airways Group Inc. said it will eliminate 1,700 jobs and return 10 leased jets to counter surging fuel bills, while Continental Airlines Inc. said its plan for cutbacks would include dropping service to 15 cities.
The workforce cuts at US Airways pushed the total of U.S. airline job losses announced since May 30 to 9,300. Jet-fuel prices have doubled in the past year, threatening the industry with losses that may reach a record $7.2 billion in 2008.
Airlines ``have to be decisive and put everything on the table, said Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition. Executives have ``a fuller appreciation of the magnitude of the crisis they're facing, he said.
US Airways said it will cut domestic seating capacity by as much as 8 percent by year's end, with another reduction of as much as 9 percent in 2009. The seventh-largest U.S. airline will charge $2 for soda and other non-alcoholic drinks, and add a $15 fee for the first checked bag, matching similar moves by American Airlines and United Airlines.
Direct from the CEO :
``We have too many seats in the marketplace and not enough demand for those seats to raise fares, Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker told employees in a memo. ``That leaves us with two options: reduce seats and find new revenue streams.