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Delta's Bastian Says FA Jobs Safe... Pilot Jobs Not So Much

Nearly 2000 Pilot Jobs At Risk

The airline industry has been hammered by the COVID crisis despite the MANY billions of taxpayer dollars that have been made available to keep them flying... but deadlines legislative occurring in just a few weeks may make the situation even worse and force extensive layoffs -- which many airlines are preparing for by paring costs, and making agreements with employees for reduced staffing, early retirements and other cost-cutting measures.

Delta is pushing to create a survivable situation in the midst of the pandemic. Since the start of the pandemic, company/employee programs have resulted in:

  • 175,000 letters to Congress explaining the critical need for relief, helping ensure the passage of the CARES Act
  • More than 40,000 employees volunteering to take an unpaid leave of absence
  • Nearly 17,000 employees choosing to depart the company through a voluntary package, preserving jobs for others. The average tenure of departing employees was almost 25 years, with nearly 400,000 total combined years of service to Delta
  • Lowered the daily cash burn to $27 million each day in June - from $100 million in March

Still... it's not enough. An employee memo transmitted to the rank and file by CEO Ed Bastian has laid out the realities. First, the Flight Attendants seem 'safe' for the moment; "Delta will be able to avoid involuntary furloughs for our flight attendants and ground-based frontline employees in the U.S., as we've effectively managed our staffing between now and the start of peak summer 2021 travel. That includes our people in ACS, Cargo, Res, TechOps and In-Flight," reports Bastian.

But... the pilots are another issue altogether, as Bastian explained that, "Unfortunately, we still expect an overage of pilots as of Oct. 1. There still is time to mitigate this potential furlough and discussions are ongoing with the pilots' union as we continue to look for ways to cost-effectively reduce or eliminate this number.

We stand with our industry colleagues in support of an extension of the CARES Act, which would protect airline industry jobs, including the Delta pilots facing furloughs. While I'm hopeful that an agreement on an extension can be reached, the deal on a broader stimulus plan – in which the extension would be included - looks uncertain. We will continue to work with members of Congress and the Administration on a solution.

While we are all grateful for our ability to mitigate furloughs, it's important to remember that we are still in a grim economic situation. It's clear the recovery will be long and choppy. We're still flying just 30 percent of the passenger volumes we had this time last year, and are currently burning about $750 million in cash a month. Even when a vaccine is developed and distributed, it will take time for business travel to come back, because of the damage that's been done to the global economy."

A Delta spokesperson has told media outlets that as many as 1,941 pilots are facing the possibility of layoffs.

FMI: www.delta.com

 


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