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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, June 2, 2001

Seattle shipping company to lay off 640 employees

Associated Press

SEATTLE — Airborne Inc., the holding company for shipping service provider Airborne Express, will lay off 640 people, or about 2.5 percent of its work force, because of slumping business.

The first layoffs in the company's 55-year history will be across the board and are expected to trim $26 million to $28 million in costs annually, the Seattle-based company said in a statement yesterday.

"This decision, certainly one of the most difficult and painful Airborne has ever made, was necessitated solely by the continuing drop in customer shipping that has affected our entire industry," Airborne president and chief executive Carl Donaway said.

Donaway said the company put off layoff plans, hoping for an economic turnaround that would increase business from its corporate clients. But that has not happened.

"Many of our biggest customers are feeling the economic pinch as painfully as we are," Donaway said.

Airborne will take a one-time charge estimated at $3.1 million to $3.6 million in the second quarter for severance packages and other restructuring costs.