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Delta Is Reportedly Preparing To Tell Some Of Its Pilots It Might Have To Put Them On Furlough

A Delta Air Lines plane.
Credit: Ted S. Warren/ Associated Press

Delta Air Lines intends to inform over 2,500 of its pilots next week that it may have to put them on furlough, CNBC’s Leslie Josephs reported on Friday.

Around 7,900 pilots will reportedly be eligible to take an early retirement package, but “early retirements alone likely won’t be enough to avoid pilot furloughs altogether,” John Laughter, Delta’s senior vice president of flight operations, said in an internal memo, according to CNBC’s report.

Laughter reportedly said Delta has too many pilots given the low level of demand for flights in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Given that we won’t know the results of the early-out for a few weeks, we must continue to move ahead to address pilot overstaffing,” he said, according to CNBC.

Delta did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

The airline has a total of over 14,000 pilots, CNBC reported. American Airlines and United Airlines encouraged employees to take unpaid leaves of absence earlier this month.

Airlines have taken a major hit in recent months as the coronavirus has discouraged travel. The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) predicted earlier this month that the global airline industry’s revenue will fall this year to about 50% of its 2019 level. 

“Financially, 2020 will go down as the worst year in the history of aviation,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general, said at the time.


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