July 6, 2020
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Delta offers employees buyouts, early retirement as coronavirus hurts travel demand

Delta warns more than 2,500 pilots about possible vacations, offers early retirement packages

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Delta Air Lines passenger planes are visible parked due to a flight reduction made to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, March 25, 2020.

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Elijah Nouvelage | Reuters

Delta Air Lines plans to send notifications to alert more than 2,500 pilots next week about potential losses, according to a company message sent out on Friday by CNBC.

The carrier and the union, representing more than 14,000 pilots, reached an agreement on early retirement, which is a step towards reducing the number of employees, as the coronavirus continues to erode demand for air travel.

“As we reported earlier, early retirement alone is likely to be insufficient to avoid pilot holidays altogether,” said a note from John Delta, senior vice president of flight operations at Delta.

He said demand remains weak despite the recent recent increase in the number of travelers.

“With this in mind and given that we will not know the results of early planning for several weeks, we must continue to move forward to solve the problem of over-exertion of pilots,” he said. “In order to better prepare our pilots, next week we will send notifications to 2558 pilots in accordance with the requirements of the Notice on Adjustment and Retraining of Employees (WARN Act) to inform them of a possible vacation.”

Pilots can apply for a voluntary early retirement program early next month, and those accepted will be informed no later than August 4, according to a union note sent out to members on Friday, which was also reviewed by CNBC. About 7,900 pilots will be eligible for early resignation, Laughter said.

Airlines are struggling to cut back on wages as the pandemic keeps many travelers at home, pushing the industry to its first losses in recent years. Demand has recovered somewhat after more than fifty-year lows reached in April, but it remains part of the norm.

“Although we are encouraged by the return of flights, we expect our total demand this summer to be only 25 percent of revenue last summer, and we are likely to stay at least two years from a return to normal,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian . pay attention to thursday.

This is especially true for high-income international flights, which airlines have significantly reduced, since reduced travel and travel restrictions have made many of these routes impossible. Some of the highest paid pilots fly planes used for these routes.

Pilots who decide to retire early will receive payment 58 hours a month before they reach the age of 65 or 36 months, whichever comes first, the union said. The company will also cover up to two years of insurance premiums and a year of travel benefits.

Delta, the smallest combined of the four largest combined airlines, offered the rest of its employees early retirement and ransom last month. The United States, Southwest, and United have also launched similar voluntary cost-cutting measures for their employees.

$ 25 billion state wage support conditions prohibit airlines from firing or cutting employee wage rates until September 30.

Airline leaders said they want to exhaust voluntary measures before moving on to forced layoffs or layoffs.

Trade unions representing flight attendants, pilots, mechanics, and other airline employees asked Congress on Thursday to set aside additional billions to protect their jobs by the end of March 2021.

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