USAir Inc. yesterday announced it was dismissing an additional 3,585 workers in an attempt to survive the deepening recession in the airline business.

For the Arlington-based USAir, which lost a record $454 million last year, it is the second major round of layoffs since August.

The latest announcement brings to 7,185 the number of employees being let go, or 14 percent of its work force. The principal layoffs locally involve 305 employees at the Reston reservation center, which is being closed.

USAir, the nation's sixth-largest carrier, is not the only carrier in trouble.

In the past six months, approximately 40,000 jobs have been cut from the U.S. airline industry by layoffs and the shutdown of bankrupt Eastern Air Lines Inc. In the meantime, two other major carriers -- Continental Airlines Corp. and Pan American World Airways Inc. -- have sought bankruptcy protection and a third, Trans World Airlines Inc., has failed to make payments on nearly $100 million in bonds.

The industry's problems are global. British Airways announced yesterday that it is cutting 4,600 jobs and putting another 2,000 workers on half pay.

Spain's Iberia Airlines said it would temporarily lay off about 2,800 workers. And Belgium's Sabena Airlines is expected to announce layoffs.

In 1990, high costs and sluggish growth in airline traffic combined to produce a record loss of nearly $2 billion for the U.S. industry. Since then, things have gotten worse. Domestic airline traffic, which grew at a weak 2.5 percent to 3 percent last year, declined 2 percent in January over the previous year and is expected to drop by almost twice as much this month.

Last year's bright spot for the industry was international traffic, but that has dropped sharply in the past month as a result of the recession and fears of terrorism resulting from the onset of fighting in the Persian Gulf. Air traffic "has just fallen over the edge of the cliff," said David A. Swieringa, vice president for data at the Air Transport Association in Washington.

USAir, a major carrier at National and Baltimore-Washington International airports, is primarily concentrated in the eastern United States. It was the first airline to start cutting jobs and delaying new aircraft deliveries in the face of the recession that began last summer along the East Coast.

Company officials said the new cutbacks were the result of "slumping traffic and sharply higher operating costs as a result of the {higher} price of jet fuel."

USAir President Seth E. Schofield said yesterday that "USAir is being restructured to survive this difficult period and to be in position to rebuild when conditions change."

The company said its latest consolidation will reduce service in some areas but expand it in others.

In addition to closing the Reston reservation center, the smallest of the airline's 10 domestic reservation centers, USAir said it will close flight crew bases in Greensboro, N.C., San Diego, Miami and Syracuse, N.Y., as well as a maintenance facility in Utica, N.Y. Layoffs include 660 pilots, 540 flight attendants, 505 maintenance and utility workers, 1,300 customer service agents and 275 staff and management employees. USAir is also cutting approximately 250 daily flights, most of which had been previously announced.

The company said it will increase service at its major hub airports in Charlotte, N.C., Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

"We cannot wait for external factors to fix things for us," said Schofield in a recent interview. "Rather, we'll take the hard decisions."

Last year, the airline optimistically projected that it was at the end of its layoffs. Since then, traffic has weakened more than anticipated, fuel peaked at a higher price than expected, and the war has increased uncertainty in the economy, he said. Schofield will take over as chief executive of USAir and president of USAir Group Inc., the carrier's holding company, in June.

The cutbacks at USAir began last August when the airline announced it was laying off 211 pilots. A week later, it announced it was firing 1,500 probationary employees hired at a time when the company was predicting 6 percent growth in capacity for 1990. Three days later, the company announced it was laying off another 2,100 employees in a further effort to cut costs and stem its losses.

At the time, USAir Chairman Edward Colodny called the layoffs "regrettable," but said the jobs had to be cut to "more realistically realign our growth rate for the next two years with anticipated market conditions and reduce our operating costs." Company officials said then they were scaling back their growth projections from 6 percent to 2 percent and said no further layoffs appeared necessary.

A USAir spokesman said yesterday that the company is now projecting a 4 percent to 5 percent decline in operations this year, compared with 1990.

"What they're trying to do is to pare back and try to regain some kind of profit," said Paul Karos of First Boston Corp. in New York. Karos said that he anticipates smaller losses for USAir this year than last. "To not shrink and cut back would be asking for even greater losses."

Robert J. Joedicke, an airline industry analyst with Shearson Lehman Brothers Inc., said that the USAir had some room to cut because its work force grew rapidly following its mergers with Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) and Piedmont Aviation Inc.

After the 1988 merger with PSA, USAir employed about 25,000. With the Piedmont merger in 1989, that number jumped to 48,500. By August 1990, employment was 55,200. After this round of cutbacks, USAir will have just over 46,500 employees.

As the industry's shakeout continues, American, United and Delta airlines are regarded as clear survivors; Pan Am, TWA, Continental and several smaller carriers are questionable. Analysts generally regard USAir and Northwest Airlines as somewhere in the middle.