) --

American Airlines


is handing flight attendants a parachute and throwing them off the plane.

The airline carrier announced today that it will cut 921 flight attendant jobs as it combats declining traffic and revenue.

American, the second largest U.S. airline, said that 228 employees will be furloughed -- laid off, but with the chance to be rehired -- while 224 will go on leave for two months (in October and November, which are typically slow months for travel). Another 449 will take voluntary options such as leave.

Nearly half of the flight attendants to be furloughed are based at New York's LaGuardia Airport.

American said it originally planned to cut 1,200 flight attendant jobs but was able to reduce the number by adjusting staffing requirements for the winter.

The airline has already responded to a 10% plunge in traffic during the first half of the year by cutting flights. American's capacity in the first six months of the year was nearly 8 percent lower than during the same time last year.

Shares of American shed 4% to come to $5.24 in afternoon trading.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York

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