By Samantha Bomkamp
NEW YORK -- Wanted: A few good recruits for an airline that's seen better days.
To replace some of its departing staff, American Airlines will hire 1,500 flight attendants starting next month, with training beginning in January.
The airline said Wednesday that 2,250 of its flight attendants have taken $40,000 buyout offers to leave the company. Briefings on the buyouts were standing-room only, according to representatives of the flight attendants union. Sign-ups to take the offer, which were open to those who had been with the company for at least 15 years, ended Sept. 20.
The payments were part of a concessionary contract that flight attendants approved with the airline, which is trying to cut its work force and labor costs while it's under bankruptcy protection. The buyouts were designed to reduce the need for layoffs at American, which had said it wanted to cut about 2,000 flight-attendant jobs. The company didn't immediately say Wednesday how or when it would further reduce its ranks after hiring a new batch of 1,500 flight attendants.
The contract attendants voted on in August would impose tougher productivity rules but give the attendants a 3 percent stake in parent AMR Corp. after it emerges from bankruptcy protection.
American just asked Tuesday for another month to present its reorganization plan. If approved, it would push the deadline for that plan to late January.
American is operated by AMR Corp. and is based in Fort Worth, Texas. The company said Wednesday that it lost $238 million in the third quarter on employee severance payouts and other costs related to its bankruptcy.
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