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American ends meals on most U.S. flights

FORT WORTH, Texas (CNN) -- As the economic impact of last week's terrorist attacks multiplies within the hard-hit airline industry, one airline said Thursday it will cut back on meal service during flights to save money.

American Airlines and TWA -- both owned by Dallas-based AMR Corp -- will no longer serve meals in the main cabin on most domestic flights and in first class on domestic flights under two hours.

The announcement comes on the heels of widespread layoffs in the airline industry following the terrorist attacks in Washington and New York last week. American, which saw two of its planes hijacked and used as missiles in the attacks, is planning to cut 20,000 jobs.

Reducing meal service on flights is another way for the airline to save money, according to American spokesman Todd Burke.

"We're in a state of emergency here at American," he said. "We're compelled to look at every way to reduce costs and we found this was a way to reduce costs substantially."

Burke refused to comment on exactly how much reduced meal service on flights would save the company, saying only that the cost is "substantial."

Passengers on some flights won't go hungry. Burke said non-stop transcontinental flights and international flights will not be affected. Also, passengers on all flights will still be served drinks and what the airline calls "a beverage accompaniment," meaning peanuts or other snacks, Burke noted.

However, the meal cutback also will apply on flights to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, and on some flights to Central and South America, the airline said.

Burke said the change will be implemented by November 1. In addition to American's job cutbacks, United has announced it is slashing 20,000 jobs, Continental is cutting 12,000 positions and U.S. Airways expects to lay off 11,000 employees. Northwest Airlines is expected to announce layoffs in the coming week. Airplane manufacturer Boeing will also reduce its workforce by 20,000 to 30,000 workers nationwide by the end of 2002.






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