American, United Airlines Each Lay Off at Least 20,000 Employees

United Airlines announced this evening that it will lay off approximately 20,000 employees, while American Airlines, the world’s largest carrierwill also lay off roughly 20,000 from its American Eagle, TWA and main American Airlines divisions.

Planes from both American and United Airlines were hijacked last Tuesday and used in the deadly crashes at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in rural Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, other airline companies have also tightened their belts after last week’s events.

Continental Airlines has cut 12,000 jobs, U.S. Airways cut 11,000, and America West laid off 2,000 employees.

America Trans Air, National Airlines and Virgin Atlantic have also announced cuts, while Midway Airlines has closed its doors.

Analysts speculate that as many as 100,000 layoffs could take place as passengers worry about flying in the aftermath of Sept. 11.

The financial fallout has affected airplane manufacturers as well as major commerical carriers.

Boeing announced late Tuesday it could lay off up to 30,000 workers by late 2002 and will scale back deliveries in the short term.

Many involved say the events of last week have shaken the airline industry to its core.

“This is not a ripple effect,” said Rep. Jennifer Dunn, whose Seattle district includes thousands of Boeing workers. “This is a tsunami.”

Voicing bankruptcy concerns, U.S. carriers have requested that the government act quickly to secure a $17.5 billion financial aid package. On Capitol Hill, lawmakers rushed to put the emergency plan in place.

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said a bailout package could be ready early next week.