Continental To Cut 600 Reservation Agent Jobs

February 22, 2010

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Continental Airlines plans to cut nearly a quarter of its reservation agent jobs by April 11, as customers increasingly turn to the Internet to book flights.

Continental told employees on Monday it will cut 600 of its 2,600 agent jobs and will not renew a third-party contract for handling calls.

The airline said in an employee memo that call volume dropped by 15 percent drop per year as customers move to the web.

Houston-based Continental said it will offer an 'early-out' programme to reservation employees who have worked at the carrier for 10 years. It will offer severance and outplacement services for employees affected by the cuts.

The surge in fuel prices in 2008 and the severe recession in the last year hurt airlines and forced them to trim costs and capacity.

"The call centres that are primarily focused on making reservations will continue to get smaller and smaller," said Jeffery Boyd, chief executive of Priceline said recently.

Boyd added that it takes less time to book a reservation over the Internet and users can better see what their options for flights and hotels are.

(Reuters)