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Midwest to lay off 40 percent of workforce

Midwest Airlines will lay off nearly half its workforce—40 percent, to be exact, or roughly 1,200 people. The airline will begin notifying affected employees immediately.

Midwest isn’t the only airline to lay off employees this year, but none have come close to the drastic 40 percent cut Midwest is making. Continental recently announced it will eliminate 3,000 jobs, twice what Midwest will jettison, but that represents only 6.5 percent of Continental’s workforce.

As Midwest scrambles to avoid Chapter 11 bankruptcy, staffing cuts of this magnitude will only serve to underscore the apparent likelihood of exactly that. Back on July 2, the airline had roughly 30 days’ worth of cash left, and now even the carrier’s pilots’ union chief seems pretty certain that Chapter 11 is coming. Still, severe layoffs may be the airline’s last hope to avoid bankruptcy, or as Midwest CEO Timothy Hoeksema told Reuters, “In order to successfully restructure, there is no way to avoid deep and painful reductions to our current work force.”

The good news for loyal Midwest flyers is that, despite predictions of the its demise, the airline is still flying, and could continue flying even if it enters Chapter 11 protection. Whether or not these cuts will be enough to stave off Chapter 11, or will just be another “painful” step in the airline’s march toward bankruptcy, is anyone’s guess.

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