USAir set to add 700 workers

April 12, 1994|By Knight-Ridder News Service

USAir is suspending its hiring freeze to add 700 reservations agents and flight attendants, many of the latter in Baltimore, over the next few months.

The Arlington, Va.-based airline is adding employees -- notwithstanding its urgent push to cut payroll costs -- to cope with a surge in passenger boardings sparked by deep fare cuts.

The number of calls to USAir reservations centers soared 49 percent in March from a year ago, spokeswoman Andrea Butler said.

The 500 reservations jobs will be part-time, in any of USAir's 10 reservations centers across the country.

Preference in hiring will be given to former USAir reservations agents on layoff, and to current customer service employees with knowledge of computer reservations systems, Ms. Butler said.

Ms. Butler said many of the 200 flight attendant positions will be assigned to Baltimore, where USAir has added two dozen flights and cut fares this year at Baltimore-Washington International Airport in response to competition from Southwest Airlines and other carriers. USAir is the dominant carrier at BWI.

The flight attendants will be new hires, since there are no flight attendants on layoff.

USAir is in particular need of applicants who speak Spanish, according to the Association of Flight Attendants union. USAir is starting service to Mexico in May and has said it is evaluating additional destinations in Latin America.

The new flight attendants are needed to replace people who have left through normal attrition since last summer, Ms. Butler said. USAir ordinarily loses 15 to 17 flight attendants a month.

Only six months ago, USAir eliminated the same number of flight attendant positions it now is seeking to add. It eliminated 75 of the 200 positions by offering early retirement incentives to flight attendants 45 and older.

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