DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — American Airlines is sending layoff warning notices to more than 11,000 employees although it expects job losses to be closer to 4,400.

The airline said Tuesday that notices went out to mechanics and ground workers whose jobs will be affected as the company goes through a bankruptcy restructuring.

So why the large gap in numbers? Federal law requires American to notify any employee whose position could change if they are ‘bumped’ by an employee with more seniority.  As for the notices going out today, AA spokesman Bruce Hicks says they’re part of the cost reductions announced back in February.

“These aren’t startling, or a surprise, or anything new. This is just one step in the legal process to provide these notices because of the changes that are in the contracts that the employees approved,” he said.

According to Hicks, fewer than 40 percent of those getting notices will lose their jobs.

Tuesday afternoon Hicks issued an official statement that said, in part, “Because some of the incentive programs are still open, and because the business changes will take place over several months, we don’t yet have final furlough numbers. We are issuing WARN notices to the unions and employees who may be affected to comply with state and federal law, but expect the ultimate impact on jobs will be far less than the number of those notified.

The acting president of the Allied Pilots Association, Keith Wilson, said in a message to members that he would meet this week with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and other top officials in the Obama administration and Congress. The union has asked federal officials to approve steps that could eventually lead to a strike, but that permission hasn’t been granted.

Still, pilots are holding a strike-authorization vote.

American and parent AMR Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection in November.

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