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updated 7/24/2012 7:01:23 PM ET 2012-07-24T23:01:23

Earlier this year, American Airlines allowed 400 flight attendants to take voluntary leaves rather than layoffs, but now it needs them back on the job.

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The airline is cutting the attendants' one-year leaves in half and ordering them back to active duty by Aug. 15.

American had planned to furlough 500 attendants because it didn't need them after eliminating many flights in previous months. In February, the airline and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants agreed on leaves instead.

American officials said in messages to the attendants Monday that as they looked at scheduling for the fall, "we have more limited crew flexibility that we believe is prudent." They said they were canceling the leaves "to ensure we can continue to provide our customers reliable service."

The proposed furloughs were separate from a proposal by American to eliminate 2,300 flight-attendant jobs as a cost-saving move in its bankruptcy restructuring. American and parent AMR Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection in November.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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