ANCHORAGE - UPS plans to cut the jobs of 262 pilots based in Alaska by the end of next year, partly due to the recession.
The Atlanta-based package delivery service says the bulk of the cuts hit Alaska because many of the junior cargo pilots are based in Anchorage, a refueling stop for international flights.
Layoffs are based on seniority. UPS says many will be replaced with more-senior pilots based outside the state.
The Independent Pilots Association told The Anchorage Daily News that 30 pilots based in the city will be let go Sunday in the first wave of the cuts.
Eagle River resident Will Goolsby joined UPS two years ago and moved to Alaska with his wife and two kids. He said Tuesday he is trying to find another job that will allow his family to stay in the Anchorage area.
UPS pilots draw an average $185,000 in salary and benefits.
"It's like losing an oil industry job," said Neal Fried, a state economist. "There aren't many jobs that (pay) better than that in our labor market," he said.
UPS spokesman Mike Mangeot said four of the five pilots he's spoken to so far plan to move to Alaska, though he said the company has not taken an official survey.
Union officials doubt many senior UPS pilots will move to Anchorage. They're reluctant to move their families and can work out a schedule to remain in the Lower 48, said union spokesman Brian Gaudet.
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