Continental has announced plans to axe 67 aircraft and 3,000 staff in response to record-high fuel prices.
In a joint statement to some 45,000 employees, Larry Kellner, chairman and chief executive officer, and Jeff Smisek, president, said: “The airline industry is in a crisis. Its business model doesn’t work with the current price of fuel and the existing level of capacity in the marketplace. We need to make changes in response.”
“The price of Gulf Coast jet fuel closed yesterday at $151.26 - about 75 percent higher than what it was a year ago. At that price and at our current capacity, our fuel expense this year would be $2.3 billion more than it was last year. That increase alone amounts to about $50,000 per employee.”
“As a result of the capacity reductions, Continental will need fewer co-workers worldwide to support the reduced flight schedule. About 3,000 positions, including management positions, will be eliminated through voluntary and involuntary separations, with the majority expected to be through voluntary programs.”
“In the first six months of 2008, Continental removed six older aircraft from service. Continental will retire an additional 67 Boeing 737-300 and 737-500 aircraft, with 37 of these additional retirements occurring in 2008 and 30 in 2009. Given the need for prompt capacity reductions in today’s environment, 27 of the 67 aircraft will be removed in September. By the end of 2009, all 737-300 aircraft will be retired from Continental’s fleet.”