FORT WORTH, OCT. 9 -- American Airlines Inc. has sent layoff notices to about 40 employees as part of a plan to eliminate 1,000 jobs and reduce costs, the company said today.

The Fort Worth-based airline, which employs more than 90,400 people, took the action because of increasing jet fuel prices and a weakening U.S. economy. Spokesman Al Becker said the first notices have been sent to about 40 people systemwide.

"The move is an effort to reduce costs," Becker said. "The {cost-cutting} plan isn't completed yet and won't be for several more weeks."

Trans World Airlines Inc. and USAir Group Inc. have also announced layoffs recently. And Air Canada announced yesterday that it will lay off about 2,900 of its 23,000 employees and cut routes to Europe and the Far East because of rising fuel costs and fewer passengers.

An unexpected increase in the price of jet fuel last winter contributed to a first-quarter loss of $19.3 million, and officials said this past summer that the company planned to reduce costs sharply.

A decline in domestic air travel helped reduce second-quarter profits to $129.2 million, 27.4 percent less than the comparable period in 1989.

Jet fuel prices have soared again recently because of Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait.

American officials had planned to reduce costs by implementing a freeze in management and clerical ranks.

The company had said it planned to eliminate about 1,000 jobs primarily through attrition but did not rule out layoffs.