Continental Airlines said Thursday it will cut 3,000 jobs, or 6.7 percent of its 45,000 employees; retire 67 mainline aircraft; and reduce mainline flights because of soaring fuel costs, making it the second major airline this week to announce cutbacks.
The airline industry is in a crisis,'' Chief Executive Officer Larry Kellner and President Jeff Smisek said in a memo to the Houston-based carrier's employees.
The actions we are announcing today are necessary to secure our future and in response to record-high fuel prices as the industry faces its worst crisis since 9/11, the memo said.
Continental said it will reduce capacity by 11 percent in the fourth quarter from the year before. United Airlines, the second-largest U.S. carrier, said yesterday it was shutting its low-fare Ted brand, retiring 100 planes and will lay off at least 1,400 workers.
Meanwhile, AMR Corp.'s American, the world's largest airline, said on May 21 it would cut its payroll by thousands'' without giving a figure.
United and Continental join American Airlines and Delta Air Lines Inc. in reducing flying after a 71 percent surge in fuel over the past year.
Continental gained 83 cents, or 5.7 percent, to $15.33 at 9:51 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares tumbled 35 percent this year before today.
Continental said it will continue to take delivery of new, fuel-efficient NextGen Boeing 737-800s and 737-900ERs, 16 of them in the second half of 2008 and 18 in 2009.