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PSA Airlines to lay off 229 Dayton workers

A look inside a PSA Airlines maintenance hangar at Dayton International Airport. The Dayton-based airline said in 2016 that it was offering up to $60,000 for pilots with a rating on CRJ-type planes. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
A look inside a PSA Airlines maintenance hangar at Dayton International Airport. The Dayton-based airline said in 2016 that it was offering up to $60,000 for pilots with a rating on CRJ-type planes. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

Dayton-based PSA Airlines -- caught up in the massive damage wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic against the global aviation industry -- intends to lay off nearly 230 workers in October, the company has warned the state.

“The COVID-19 virus (coronavirus) has resulted in the World Health Organization issuing a pandemic declaration, the president declaring a national emergency, numerous states and localities issuing shelter-in-place orders, and other related governmental announcements and actions that have impacted travel in general, and has had an unprecedented and enduring catastrophic impact on the airline industry,” PSA said in a July 17 letter to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

“In light of this sudden, severe and worsening downturn in air travel, PSA is implementing measures to ensure the financial stability of the company, including some very difficult personnel decisions,” the company added.

On Oct. 1, or within 14 days of that date, PSA said it will reduce its workforce at Dayton International Airport, located at 3400 Terminal Drive.

The company said it doesn’t know if the layoffs will be permanent.

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“At this time, it is our sincere hope that the furloughs and layoffs experienced by the employees covered by this notice will only be temporary,” PSA said in its letter to Ohio. “However, due to the unique and unpredictable nature of the pandemic, we cannot presently predict or guarantee a timeline for the recall of any employee impacted by this reduction, assuming we are in a position to recall employees in the future.”

For years, PSA worked hard to find qualified employees, offering pilot and technician bonuses and other incentives.

A regional carrier for American Airlines, PSA Airlines has been the only airline based in the state of Ohio. It has been based in Dayton since 1986.

In 2016, the company officially opened its $13 million, 77,000-square-foot maintenance hangar at Dayton International, at the time a significant step in what was then strong growth.

The July 17 letter to Ohio is signed by Margaret Soda, PSA’s vice president of human resources and labor relations.

American Airlines has issued nearly 3,000 furlough notices, according to the Dallas Morning News. PSA also sent notice that nearly 250 of its employees at Charlotte Douglas International Airport will be laid off, a newspaper in Charlotte, N.C. reported. There have also been media reports of nearly 90 PSA layoffs in Philadelphia.

A message seeking comment was sent to PSA representatives in Dayton Tuesday.