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Nearly Southwest

Nearly 17,000 Southwest employees sign up for buyouts, voluntary leave as furlough threat looms – CNBC

A Southwest Airlines jet leaves Midway Airport on January 25, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.

Scott Olson | Getty Images

More airline employees are signing up for buyouts, leaves of absence and early retirements as the threat of furloughs looms this summer amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Close to 17,000 employees or about 28% of Southwest Airlines‘ workforce has signed up for partially paid extended leaves of absence or outright buyouts, the company’s CEO, Gary Kelly, told employees Monday. Nearly 4,400 put their hands up for buyouts while close to 12,500 expressed interest in extended time off, Kelly said in a staff memo seen by CNBC.

Airline executives have urged employees to take unpaid or partially paid time off. Companies are offering a host of buyout and early retirement programs as well as unpaid or partially paid temporary time off that provide health-care benefits but reduce carriers’ labor expense. The results of the programs comes as demand for air travel eases during the all-important summer travel season.

“Overall, I’m very pleased with the response to these programs,” Kelly said in the memo, which was reported earlier by the Dallas Morning News. “I’m incredibly grateful to those of you who answered the call. I know there are stories behind every one of those 16,895 decisions — from your incredible history at Southwest Airlines, to stories of what’s ahead in your next phase.”

Southwest, which reports quarterly results before the market opens on Thursday, didn’t immediately comment.

At Delta Air Lines, the deadlines for pilots to apply for early retirement packages closed Sunday and 2,235 of them signed up, according to their union.

“The voluntary early-out program participation exceeded our expectations, which is positive,” said Air Line Pilots Association spokesman and Delta pilot Christopher Riggins.

Delta last month said close to 2,600 pilots would be warned about potential furloughs when the terms of federal aid expire this fall. The carrier said more than half of its more than 14,000 pilots would be eligible. When settling on the number of jobs at risk, Delta had already factored in routine retirements as pilots approach the federally mandated retirement age of 65.

“This is meaningful progress as we look to mitigate furloughs and our teams are hard at work to determine next steps and evaluate how the pilot early retirement may affect Delta’s overall pilot staffing outlook,” the airline said in a statement.

Delta’s early retirement program provides pilots partial pay for up to three years and extended health insurance coverage.

Delta last week asked pilots to reduce their minimum hours by 15%, a plan that the airline says would avoid involuntary furloughs for a year, CNBC first reported.

Shares of Southwest and Delta were each down more than 3% in afternoon trading. United and American were each down more than 4%.

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India Nearly

India Bans Nearly 60 Chinese Apps, Including TikTok – The New York Times

The move is part of the tit-for-tat retaliation after the Indian and Chinese militaries clashed earlier this month.

Credit…Noah Seelam/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Maria Abi-Habib

India’s government banned nearly 60 Chinese mobile apps Monday, including TikTok, citing national security concerns, part of the larger tit-for-tat retaliation that is unfolding between the countries after their militaries clashed earlier this month.

The move comes after a deadly clash between the Chinese and Indian militaries along their shared, disputed border earlier this month. The fighting left 20 Indians dead and an unknown number of Chinese casualties.

While India has vowed to retaliate, it lags far behind China in military and economic power, leaving it with few options. But Chinese telecommunication and social networking companies have long eyed India’s giant market and its enormous potential. Only about 50 percent of India’s 1.3 billion citizens are online.

In addition to TikTok, the popular social networking platform, the banned apps include UC Browser, Shareit and Baidu Map.

The mobile apps on Android and iOS platforms were “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India,” India’s ministry of electronic and information technology said in a statement Monday.

“The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defense of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” the statement added.

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