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American Airlines to cut 19,000 jobs in October without aid, workforce shrinking 30%

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CHICAGO (Reuters) – American Airlines said on Tuesday its workforce will shrink by 40,000, including 19,000 involuntary cuts, in October as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to weigh on air travel, unless the government extends aid for airline employee payrolls.

Airlines received $25 billion in U.S. government stimulus funds in March meant to cover payrolls and protect jobs through September. As the money runs out without a travel recovery in sight, airlines and unions have lobbied Washington for another $25 billion, but talks have stalled as Congress has struggled to reach agreement on a broader coronavirus assistance package.

Shares in American, which had 140,000 employees before the pandemic, fell 2.7%.

In a memo to employees, Chief Executive Doug Parker and President Robert Isom said the first relief bill had assumed the virus would be under control and demand recovered by Sept. 30.

“That is obviously not the case,” they said.

Texas-based American’s announcement comes in the midst of the four-day Republican National Convention, where President Donald Trump is trying to regain momentum against the backdrop of a pandemic that has killed over 175,000 Americans and produced a recession that has resulted in the loss of millions of jobs.

Airlines have argued that the industry is essential to a quick economic recovery.

American’s planned job cuts comprise 17,500 furloughs of union workers -including 1,600 pilots and 8,100 flight attendants – and 1,500 management positions.

They are below the 25,000 warning on possible job cuts American sent last month thanks to early retirements and leaves.

Based on current demand levels, American said it now plans to fly less than 50% of its normal schedule in the fourth quarter, with international flying reduced to only a quarter of 2019 levels.

American said last week it was suspending flights to 15 small U.S. cities in October without more federal aid.

United Airlines has warned that 36,000 jobs are on the line but has not announced final cuts.

Among other large U.S. airlines, Delta Air Lines on Monday announced furloughs of nearly 2,000 pilots but has said the numbers could be reduced if they agree to a cut in minimum pay.

Southwest Airlines has said it hopes to avoid involuntary cuts this year thanks to strong demand for voluntary severance packages.

Budget carrier Spirit Airlines’ pilots union said on Tuesday that nearly half of around 2,500 pilots had agreed to work fewer hours every month to prevent 600 furloughs in October.

Reporting and photo: Reuters

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Maldives celebrates arrival of 2024’s 1 millionth tourist

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Maldives on Thursday welcomed the one millionth tourist to visit this year.

The one millionth tourist is a Thai named Sutapa Amonwivat, who arrived from Singapore with her husband and two children. This is her second visit to Maldives.

Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) and the Ministry of Tourism gave a warm welcome to Sutapa at the Velana International Airport (VIA) Thursday afternoon. She was welcomed at the VIA by tourism minister Ibrahim Faisal, MMPRC Managing Director Ibrahim Shiury and senior officials of various relevant agencies.

After welcoming her with traditional offerings, she was presented with various gifts by the ministry, MMPRC, customs, immigration, Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) and Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA).

Maldives reached one million tourists in June, three weeks earlier than last year. The number of tourists reached one million on July 16, 2023.

Maldives expects to reach 2 million tourists this year.

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New air route connects Chongqing to Maldives

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Chongqing Airlines on Monday began its inaugural flights to Maldives.

The Chongqing-Male route, scheduled three times a week, is expected to strengthen the bonds between China and the Maldives, opening up exciting new opportunities for tourism and cultural exchange.

The inaugural flight was welcomed upon its arrival at Velana International Airport (VIA) in Maldives, where local officials and tourism representatives expressed their enthusiasm for this new development.

“We warmly welcome our friends from China to our beautiful islands. This new connection strengthens our bonds and opens up new opportunities for tourism,” the tourism ministry said on X.

Maldives currently welcomes four airlines from China, including China Eastern, Beijing Capital Airlines, Xiamen Airlines.

In January, Maldives government urged tourism stakeholders in both Maldives and China to ramp up efforts to restore China’s position as the primary source market for Maldives tourism, a status held before the onset of Covid-19.

China, being the largest source market for Maldives tourism before the pandemic, saw a resumption of tourist arrivals from January 2023 after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. In 2023, the Maldives welcomed 187,118 Chinese tourists, marking a significant recovery in numbers. This year, the Maldives has welcomed the most number of tourists from China, with over 107,940 or 11.5 percent of total arrivals by June 12. 

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CROSSROADS Maldives Introduces Weixin Pay at resorts for seamless guest experience

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CROSSROADS Maldives has introduced WeChat Pay, widely known as Weixin Pay in China, across its world-class resorts, SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, and Hard Rock Hotel Maldives. This payment option is made available to enhance the convenience and overall experience for guests from China, making their stay in the Maldives more enjoyable and hassle-free.

Understanding the needs of the diverse guests, CROSSROADS Maldives has integrated WeChat Pay into operations, allowing guests from China to easily and securely conduct transactions using a payment method familiar to them. The introduction of WeChat Pay is a testament to CROSSROADS Maldives’ dedication to enhancing guest satisfaction by offering exceptional experiences at every turn. What is also expected through this initiative is that the guests could benefit from better foreign exchange rates, translating to better savings on their expenditures during their stay.

The option is available for guests in-house conveniently at both resorts as well as across the Marina at CROSSROADS Maldives where a wider variety of unparalleled dining and retail experiences are available for all guests. The day visitors from China will also therefore equally benefit from this new introduction at the Maldives’ premier multi-island integrated leisure destination.

SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, is a vibrant tropical escape that offers unique and locally inspired experiences. The resort features spacious rooms and villas, a variety of dining options, and an array of recreational activities designed to cater to the desires of modern travellers. Guests can escape to the island’s SAiisational natural beauty, enjoy water sports, and indulge in spa treatments, all while relishing the personalised service that defines Hilton’s Curio Collection.

Hard Rock Hotel Maldives brings the iconic Hard Rock spirit to the tranquil shores of the Maldives. This family-friendly resort offers a perfect blend of relaxation and entertainment, featuring music-inspired experiences, live performances, and the brand’s signature amenities. With luxurious accommodations, diverse dining options, and a plethora of activities for all ages, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives ensures an unforgettable holiday experience for every guest.

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