Delta Delays Its Decision to Furlough Pilots

With one eye on Congress and another on its balance sheet, Delta Air Lines has decided to delay its decision to furlough almost 2,000 pilots for a month until Nov. 1.

“This move will provide time as we continue to lobby for a clean extension of the CARES Act and the Payroll Support Program and resume our negotiations with Delta,” the Delta chapter of the Air Lines Pilots Association said in a statement provided to FOX Business.

The carrier had previously planned to lay off about 1,941 pilots in October when the restrictions of the CARES Act stimulus package run out. Airlines were bound by provisions, including no pay cuts or layoffs for six months, when they accepted almost $30 billion in grants and loans.

Industry officials, including airline CEOs, have heavily lobbied Congress for an extension of the CARES Act in order to avoid a mass cumulative layoff. The industry has struggled since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, which at one point dropped demand for travel to five percent – 95 percent off what it was a year ago at this time.

It has since improved to about 30-35 percent capacity, still well off from the year-over-year numbers and certainly not as quick a rebound as the industry had hoped.

On Monday, two Republican Senators introduced a bill that would provide an additional $28 billion in aid.

Delta said last week that it will be able to avoid involuntary furloughs for most frontline employees, thanks to thousands of employees who took early retirement, buyouts or agreed to have their pay cut. The airline has “effectively managed our staffing between now and the start of peak summer 2021 travel,” CEO Ed Bastian said in a memo to employees.

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