Business & Finance

US airlines announced more than 26,000 new layoffs as their stocks plummeted and financial woes deepened in the aftermath of last week's terrorist attacks. US Airways planned to cut 11,000 workers, America West Holdings 2,000, and American Trans Air 1,500. American, the largest carrier, and Northwest likely will announce layoffs later this week, spokesmen said. The cuts come on top of 12,000 layoffs last week by Continental Airlines and the 1,700 employees thrown out of work when Midway ceased operations. In Britain, London-based Virgin Atlantic Airways said it will cut 1,200 jobs. KLM, the Dutch carrier, pledged to try to soften the impact on its 20,000 employees by reducing working hours rather than cutting jobs.

Congress was considering a $20 billion relief package to help the airlines, while the industry itself was seeking $24 billion. Since the attacks, the industry has lost an estimated $1 billion because of weaker demand, a two-day shutdown imposed by federal authorities, and higher security-related expenses.

Two more of the world's major central banks followed the lead of the Federal Reserve and cut interest rates to try to shore up investor confidence. The Bank of England lowered its key rate by 0.25 percent. The Bank of Japan lopped 0.10 percent from its official discount rate, although the move was seen as mostly symbolic because interest rates already had been lowered to less than 1 percent earlier this year. Earlier, the central banks of Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Taiwan, and Hong Kong cut their rates to match the Fed.

Another 1,300 job cuts were expected to be announced by Germany's Dresdner Bank, bringing it nearer the target of 5,000 set in May following the collapse of merger efforts with rival Deutsche Bank. Meanwhile, Commerzbank, the nation's fourth-largest, warned of up to 4,000 layoffs in the next three to six months.

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