As a frequent business traveler, I’ve been anxiously watching the difficulties in which many airlines are finding themselves. I had been hoping not to see the following story:
21 minutes ago
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Continental Airlines Inc said on Thursday it would cut 3,000 jobs, or about 6.5 percent of its work force, and retire 67 older planes as it scales down in the face of soaring fuel prices.
The No. 4 carrier is the latest of the major U.S. airlines to announce large cutbacks as they grapple with unprecedented oil prices. On Tuesday, UAL Corp’s United Airlines announced plans to slash jobs and flights, following a similar move by AMR Corp’s American Airlines last month.
Continental said it would cut 3,000 of its 45,000 staff, and retire 67 single-aisle Boeing 737 planes by the end of 2009, on top of the six planes it has already pulled out of service this year.
The airline said it would replace some of those older jets with deliveries of new, more fuel-efficient 737s. Its mainline fleet of about 375 planes would shrink to about 344 by the end of next year, an overall cut of about 8 percent.
It said it would cut flights after the summer season, reducing domestic capacity — or the number of seats for sale on U.S. flights — by about 11 percent in the fourth quarter.
(Reporting by Bill Rigby, editing by Maureen Bavdek)
Seeing as the Pharma belt uses EWR (Newark, NJ) as a primary airport, this is a huge hit. EWR is a hub for Continental so any hit on continental will have an impact on Pharma travel. To be fair, there have been some busier lines and fuller flights on Continental due to the problems that other carriers have been having already, but this is more direct (and doesn’t help the situation).