American Airlines Layoffs Will Likely Hurt DFW Economy

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DALLAS (AP) – A major credit-rating agency says pending layoffs at American Airlines will have a noticeable effect on the Dallas-Fort Worth economy but should cause only limited harm to individual cities because of the region’s large job base.

American Airlines told employees last week that it wants to eliminate 13,000 jobs under a bankruptcy reorganization plan. American’s parent company, AMR Corp., has about 88,000 employees including an estimated 25,000 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Fitch Ratings said Tuesday that several thousand layoffs could occur in north Texas, especially in Fort Worth, where the company wants to close a maintenance facility at Alliance Airport that employs about 1,200 workers. The Fort Worth headquarters could also bear the brunt of 1,400 management layoffs.

Fort Worth’s unemployment rose above 8 percent in 2003 partly due to AMR layoffs. But Fitch says the region’s economy has grown and diversified and the labor force now tops three million, so the layoffs should cause only “limited negative effects to individual cities given the breadth of the employment base.”

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is home to headquarters for several Fortune 500 companies, including Exxon Mobil, AT&T, Kimberly-Clark, J.C. Penney and Texas Instruments. The region had a 7.1 percent unemployment rate in December, below the national average.

In December the ratings agency said that AMR’s Nov. 29 bankruptcy filing raised credit concerns for American’s hub airports, including Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport, because American could reduce flights. Fitch lowered its outlook to “negative” from “stable” for $4 billion worth of DFW bonds.

American and its American Eagle short-haul affiliate account for about 85 percent of flights at DFW Airport.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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