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Delta to warn more than 2,500 pilots about possible furloughs, offers early retirement packages
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Delta to warn more than 2,500 pilots about possible furloughs, offers early retirement packages

Delta and the pilots' labor union reached an agreement for early retirements as the carrier scrambles to reduce headcount.

International

Delta Air Lines is planning to send notices to warn more than 2,500 pilots next week about potential furloughs.

The carrier and the labor union that represent the carrier’s more than 14,000 pilots has reached an agreement for an early retirement option, a step toward reducing headcount as the coronavirus continues to ravage air travel demand.

“As we’ve communicated previously, early retirements alone likely won’t be enough to avoid pilot furloughs altogether,” said the memo from Delta’s senior vice president of flight operations, John Laughter.

He said that demand has remained weak despite a recent uptick in the number of travelers lately.

“With that in mind and 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. “In an effort to best prepare our pilots, we will send notices to 2,558 pilots as required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (the “WARN Act”) next week to let them know of a possible furlough.”

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

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