DHL Lays Off 2,870 After Airborne Acquisition

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DHL Worldwide Express will lay off about 2,870 workers at 169 DHL service centers in the United States as part of a consolidation following its acquisition of Airborne Inc.'s ground operations, the company said yesterday.

Pickup and delivery services will be handled by couriers in the Airborne delivery network, DHL said. Laid-off DHL workers will receive pay and benefits through Oct. 31 and also severance packages.

DHL, a business unit of Deutsche Post World Net, finalized its acquisition of Airborne's ground operations for $1.05 billion Aug. 15 and said then that it planned to eliminate redundant functions. Airborne's air operations spun off into a separate company, ABX Air Inc.

Deutsche Post's expansion of its services in the United States has generated controversy. Rival shippers United Parcel Service and FedEx have challenged the acquisition of DHL Airways by a group of private investors on the grounds that it violated laws against foreign ownership of U.S. airlines.

The shippers claim Deutsche Post retains de facto control of DHL Airways, which is now known as Astar Air Cargo. The U.S. Department of Transportation is reviewing the ownership dispute.

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