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Southwest Airlines plans to furlough 556 in Denver

The furloughs are part of more than 6,800 nationwide as the carrier says it hasn't made "meaningful progress" in cost-cutting talks with unions.
Credit: AP
FILE- In this July 17, 2018, file photo ramp workers prepare a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 for departure to Denver from Minneapolis International Airport in Minneapolis. Southwest Airlines Co. reports earnings Thursday, Oct. 25. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

DENVER — Low-fare giant Southwest Airlines notified the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment on Thursday that it plans to furlough 556 first officers, flight attendants and customer service, provision and ramp agents at Denver International Airport on April 1.

The Dallas-based carrier said it filed notices Thursday to furlough 6,828 workers nationwide because it hasn't made "meaningful progress" in cost-cutting talks with four union locals representing its workers.

Southwest had asked the unions in October to accept 10% pay cuts in exchange for a pledge of no furloughs next year as part of a plan to reduce "overstaffing" costs by $1 billion. 

Southwest, which is scheduled to expand to Colorado Springs on March 11 with 13 flights to five cities, reported a record $1.16 billion loss in the third quarter as travel has only rebounded slightly since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the nation.

The airline, which employed 58,000 at the end of the third quarter, said it was still filling just above half of the seats on its flights during September and that travel demand remains "fragile."

> Read the full story on The Denver Gazette. 

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