to cut workforce, impose hiring freeze

Online travel agency said Friday it's cutting 10 percent of its staff and instituting a hiring freeze because of a drop in bookings following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

"Reductions in staff are difficult in any situation, and particularly difficult in this one because our entire team has rallied to support our customers during the recent tragic event,'" said Terrell B. Jones, president and CEO of the Fort Worth, Texas-based company, in a statement.

Jones said that as of last week, airline ticket volumes were at 70 percent of expected levels, and although they were beginning to rise, it was too early to forecast when they would stabilize.

The company said it will also make cuts in advertising, and will realign its customer service organization, which includes closing its Sacramento call center and rerouting those calls to call centers in Texas, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

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