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Some America West pilots back to work from furlough

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MESA, Ariz. (AP) — America West Airlines will recall at least 75 of its 179 furloughed pilots by March, an airline official said.

Flights were pared down by about 20 percent as the airline tried to cut costs and bring up passenger loads after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The pilots were included in a 2,000-person work force reduction by the airline in October. All employee groups were affected by the job cuts except airplane mechanics and reservation agents.

America West restored about a third of its flights in December and plans to reinstate more flights starting February through April, airline officials said Thursday.

"As demand for air travel continues to increase, we are responding by adding flights back to our schedule," said Jeff McClelland, executive vice president of operations.

America West's pilots union said it welcomed the news, but that 104 pilots are still waiting to return to work.

America West spokeswoman Patty Nowack said it was unclear exactly when other positions within the airline would be restored.

Last week, America West received a $429 million loan secured by the U.S. government.

The carrier is the only major U.S. airline to seek a loan guarantee under a federal plan approved after the attacks to provide airlines with $5 billion in cash aid and $10 billion in loan guarantees.