Delta Air Lines will furlough 1,941 pilots in October as the company sees little changes in the commercial flying over the next six months due to uncertainties of the coronavirus outbreak that slowed down its business recovery.
“We are six months into this pandemic and only 25% of our revenues have been recovered,” said John Laughter, senior vice president of flight operations, in the memo to pilots. “Unfortunately, we see few catalysts over the next six months to meaningfully change this trajectory,” he added.
The move came after a voluntarily early retirement of 1,800 pilots during the pandemic. Still, the company has approximately 11,200 active pilots after the early retirement, which is overstaffed, compared to the need to fly a reduced schedule.
The company said the layoffs (in Oct.) could be reduced or avoided if the company and the Air Line Pilots Association labor union can reach a cost-cutting agreement as the coronavirus hammered travel demand.