Delta says it won’t furlough most workers thanks to buyouts and shorter schedules

Delta Air Lines passenger planes are seen parked due to flight reductions made to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Elijah Nouvelage | Reuters

Most of Delta Air Lines‘ roughly 75,000 workers won’t face job cuts, thanks to voluntary leaves of absence, buyouts and shorter schedules, the airline said Tuesday.

Airlines have pleaded with employees in recent months to take leave or buyouts in order to lower their labor bills as the coronavirus pandemic’s toll on travel demand deprived them of revenue during what is usually the busiest time of the year.

About a fifth of Delta’s staff, which numbered more than 90,000 at the start of the year, took buyouts or early retirement packages, CEO Ed Bastian said in a staff memo. More than 40,000 have opted for temporary leaves of absence since the pandemic began and work schedules for most employees have been cut by 25%. The reduced schedules will continue until the end of the year.

“While it is difficult to see so many of our colleagues leave, every one of those departures helped save Delta jobs,” he said.

Flight attendants, mechanics, reservation and customer service agents won’t face furloughs, Bastian said. 

The airline has warned than more than 1,900 pilots, however, could face furloughs as early as Oct. 1, but negotiations with their union to cut costs are ongoing.

Southwest Airlines has also said it will be able to avoid involuntary job cuts this year thanks to early retirement and buyout packages, while American Airlines and United Airlines last month said they could furlough up to about 35,000 workers combined starting this fall. United and the pilots’ union, however, have reached a preliminary agreement that could avoid furloughs of close to 3,000 pilots.

The terms of $25 billion in aid airlines received from the federal government prohibit job cuts through Sept. 30. Airline labor unions and executives are pushing for another round of aid that would protect industry jobs through the end of next March but Congress has so far failed to reach a deal on another coronavirus stimulus bill that could include the additional relief.

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Article Courtesy of CNBC

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