An airport worker points at the tarmac as an American Airlines Airbus 220 aircraft is seen at the gate of Washington National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia on December 18, 2020.

Daniel Slim | AFP | Getty Images

American Airlines announced on Wednesday that it would be sending vacation notices to around 13,000 employees this week as a second round of state payroll assistance expires and demand for travel remains in tatters.

Rival United Airlines sent similar vacation alerts to 14,000 employees last Friday.

The last $ 15 billion congress, approved for U.S. airlines late last year, urged airlines to call back employees on leave in the fall and keep payroll up through March 31. This was the second round of Covid aid to the industry. Congress gave airlines $ 25 billion last March to keep them from downsizing in the fall.

After the U.S. airline’s CEOs reported new record losses of $ 34 billion last month, they warned they wouldn’t expect a sharp recovery in air travel anytime soon.

Employers are legally obliged to give staff 60 days in advance of any possible layoffs or temporary vacation days. The communications do not guarantee that recipients will ultimately lose their jobs.

American CEO Doug Parker told staff last week that the airline is still overstaffed for current demand forecasts and that there may be vacations.

“I don’t want anyone to be surprised if the company issues WARN notices in the near future,” Parker said last week at a town hall with staff whose audio was checked by CNBC. He said the company will work with unions to reduce vacation through voluntary action.

The airline unions are now seeking an additional $ 15 billion in industry payroll support to keep jobs through September 30th.