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16-Sep-2020 10:13 AM

Delta Air Lines able to avoid involuntary furloughs for flight attendants and ground handlers

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian announced (15-Sep-2020) the carrier will be able to avoid involuntary furloughs of flight attendants and ground based frontline employees in the US, as more than 40,000 employees voluntarily signed up for short and long term unpaid leave and the carrier has "effectively managed our staffing between now and the start of peak summer 2021 travel". The carrier has undertaken a number of measures to mitigate involuntary furloughs, including the following:

  • 25% reduction in work hours for ground based employees;
  • Insourcing certain ACS roles such as wheelchair handling, with aircraft servicing, cargo handling and plane fueling under consideration;
  • Leveraging MRO business and partnerships with Pratt & Whitney and Rolls Royce to secure TechOps employment;
  • Rotating month on, month off schedule for flight attendants.

Mr Bastian said the carrier still expects an "overage" of pilots as of 01-Oct-2020, though he stated: "There still is time to mitigate this potential furlough and discussions are ongoing with the pilots' union as we continue to look for ways to cost-effectively reduce or eliminate this number". The carrier supports an extension of the CARES Act, which would "protect airline industry jobs, including the Delta pilots facing furloughs". Mr Bastian warned the carrier is operating just 30% of passenger volumes year-on-year and burning approximately USD750 million per month. He expects that even if a vaccine is developed and distributed, "it will take time for business travel to come back, because of the damage that's been done to the global economy". [more - original PR]

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