“Our challenge will be to predict the pace and timing of this return,” said John Laughter of Delta, “which will be slower than we hoped.”
Delta will consider other voluntary employee departure programs to cut costs, he said. Significant numbers of Delta pilots will reach mandatory retirement age by fall 2021, but still expect to have up to 2,500 extra pilots by the third quarter of 2021.
Details of the internal pilot score were first released by Reuters.
Delta had 13,082 pilots as of December 31, according to documents filed by the company. Its Endeavor Air unit still has 1,800 pilots, although it is unclear whether they are included in the estimate of 7,000 jobs. Laughter wrote that the number of 7,000 is “based on current capacity expectations” and acknowledged that it would be “hard to read news”.
The airline said it is still looking to minimize vacation time and that it will speed up the withdrawal of the Boeing 777s to this end and close a long-standing pilot base in Cincinnati. Ten of the 777 planes are 20 years old, but eight others are only 10 years old, which is young when it comes to removing an airplane. Delta switched to Boeing, its Airbus rival, for all of its future aircraft orders.
“Retiring an iconic fleet like the 777 is not an easy decision – I know it has a direct impact on many of you who fly, equip and maintain these aircraft,” said Delta CEO. , Ed Bastian, in a note to employees. “However, parking this fleet will result in significant savings over the next several years. Delta is currently burning approximately $ 50 million a day, and measures like this are helping to stem the bleeding, in an effort to save Delta jobs and our future. “
The 777 was mainly used on longer international routes. International travel should take longer to recover than domestic travel.
“The unprecedented challenges we face during this crisis also led to the difficult decision to close our CVG [Cincinnati] pilot base after 33 years. It was not a decision taken lightly, but the limitations of the CVG base lead to operational inefficiency that cannot be overcome in this environment, “he wrote.
CNN asked Delta what the impact of the closure will be on the hub that Delta operates there, but did not respond. Airlines are considering closing hubs as a cost saving measure. United Airlines President Scott Kirby told investors earlier this month that he plans to close one or more of its hubs.
Delta had 91,000 employees at the end of 2019. It reported that 37,000 of these employees had taken unpaid leave to help reduce costs.
The CARES law, which has provided $ 25 billion in grants and low-interest loans to domestic passenger airlines, includes a provision that prevents layoffs, salary cuts or involuntary leave until 30 September this year.
Industry group Airlines For America said on Wednesday that national airlines were bleeding up to $ 7 billion each month as the pandemic continued. U.S. airlines have reported more than $ 2 billion in losses for the first three months of the year, but that includes two months in which traffic was not significantly affected by the crisis.
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