Friday, October 22, 2004

Discount airline ATA cuts more jobs


Attendants' concessions not enough

The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS - Discount airline ATA on Thursday eliminated 220 positions in a cost-cutting move a day after it said a pay cut accepted by flight attendants would not save enough money to ease its cash-flow problems.

Indianapolis-based ATA Holdings Corp. did not specify what jobs would be cut, but said they would not include pilots, flight attendants, ramp agents or reservations agents.

ATA, which flies to six Florida cities, said its business was hurt by the hurricanes that struck there in August and September.

"Excess capacity, record high fuel prices and declining fares have necessitated that all airlines, including ATA, re-examine their business," the company said.

The cuts are about 3 percent of the company's work force.

They follow an announcement last week that ATA would lay off 156 employees - including 150 flight attendants - beginning Oct. 31. The airline, the nation's 10th-largest, blamed those layoffs on a seasonal slowdown.

The airline's 1,900 flight attendants last week voted to accept a 10 percent pay cut that their union said would save ATA about $23 million over two years.

In a filing Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said its financial problems have worsened since Aug. 16, when ATA warned it likely would run out of cash in early 2005 and might sell some assets or restructure.

ATA Holdings shares closed unchanged at $1.71 Thursday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The stock price had been dropping since it topped $12 in February.

The company reported Aug. 16 it had lost $90.7 million during the first half of 2004, despite a 2 percent growth in revenues to $778.1 million, in part because of higher costs for jet fuel and less business for its military charters.




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