Delta Air Lines set to furlough nearly 2,000 pilots

Photo via AJC

New York, United States — The Delta Airline is set to furlough 1,941 pilots in October due to the struggles airlines have been facing from the ongoing pandemic.

The senior vice president of flight operations, John Laughter said that, “We’ve said before that early retirements alone wouldn’t solve the pilot overstaffing situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” in an internal memo to employees. The memo was provided to CNN Business by Delta (DTA).

However, Laughter mentioned that their is a possibility for the company to “avoid or reduce” the furloughs, only if the cost-reducing agreements are able to be made with their union, and if the CARES Act is extended.

“While it’s possible, it is far from certain and we must continue to take the necessary steps to manage the business. It’s vitally important for Delta’s recovery that we reduce our size considering the prolonged and uncertain road ahead,” Laughter said.

The Delta Airline currently has 11,200 active pilots, according to the memo. Laughter says that Delta expects the summer 2021 to be the peak flying period for the next year or so and he foresees that the company will need roughly 9,450 pilots for the summer 2021 schedule.

“We are simply overstaffed, and we are faced with an incredibly difficult decision,” Laughter said. Delta had beforehand warned their employees in May of potential employee cuts.

Delta says that they have recovered only 25% of their revenue since the pandemic hit.

“Though we expect a multi-year recovery, we will work diligently to bring you back to Delta as soon as we can, if demand recovers better than we are anticipating,” Laughter said.