American Airlines quietly stops operations out of Oakland, warns of hundreds of layoffs at SFO

American Airlines has quietly ceased operations out of Oakland Airport and warned of possible furloughs of hundreds of workers at San Francisco International Airport.

“We’re constantly evaluating our network to meet customer demand,” American Airlines spokesman Curtis Blessing said in a statement sent to KTVU on Tuesday. "Unfortunately, our service in Oakland was not profitable and the last flight from OAK to Phoenix (PHX) operated on June 3,” he added, thanking the team members who continued to work closely with customers through the transition period. 

American said that while it has ended its decades-long service to Oakland, the airline will continue serving the Bay Area with flights in and out of San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC).

Last month, the airline filed WARN notifications announcing plans for potential layoffs or furloughs of 25,000 employees, as part of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988, requiring employers to give notice at least 60 days before mass layoffs, large-scale furloughs, or plant closure.

Figures showed more than 360 workers at SFO received notices.

"In our case, the WARN notices are tied to the overages we may see starting Oct. 1 when our Payroll Support Program funding expires," wrote CEO Doug Parker and COO Robert Isom in a letter to employees. "We hate taking this step, as we know the impact it has on our hardworking team members."

The airline said it had hoped travel, hit hard by the pandemic, would rebound by Oct. 1, but given the rise in coronavirus cases in many parts of the country, that has not happened and it, along with the entire airline industry, was struggling.

"Our passenger revenues in June, while we believe are better than others in the industry, were more than 80% lower than June 2019,” the company said. "And with infection rates increasing and several states reestablishing quarantine restrictions, demand for air travel is slowing again. As a result, we currently anticipate having over 20,000 more team members on payroll than we will need to operate our smaller schedule this fall.”

The airline said that it has created new programs intended to help offset as many furloughs as possible and asked employees to consider taking voluntary action to accept early-out packages. 

"Please know that while we are issuing 25,000 WARN notices, we hope to reduce the actual number of furloughs significantly through enhanced leave and early-out programs for represented workgroups,” the company said. 

American Airlines has more than 1,000 team members based out of SFO.