Delta Air Lines Inc will inform almost 2,600 pilots about a possible furlough while encouraging a total of 7,900 eligible aviators to accept an early retirement package, according to a memo sent to staff.
“Even with the increased travel demand we’ve seen in recent weeks, we expect revenue to be at only 25% of what it was last summer and that a return to pre-Covid levels will likely be at least two years away,” John Laughter, Delta’s senior vice president of flight operations, said in the memo.
Laughter was reiterating CEO Ed Bastian’s forecast. Because the company won’t know for a few weeks how many pilots
will accept early retirement and needs to address its over-staffing issue, the airline will send notices about the potential furloughs to 2,558 pilots.
The company has reached a tentative agreement on the early retirement program with the union representing Delta pilots. Separations under the program will be no later than January 1, 2022.
“We hope that we will not have to reduce jobs involuntarily and are prepared to continue discussions with your elected representatives on a comprehensive agreement that would include a no-furlough commitment for two years,” Laughter said.
The Atlanta-based company has already offered employees a variety of options to take leave. American Airlines and Southwest Airlines also have offered similar early retirement packages to pilots and other workers.