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Delta Working with Pilots Aiming to Avoid Layoffs, Says Report

By Howard Smith – Updated Jun 1, 2020 at 11:15AM

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The airline updated its plans for additional summer routes, but still has more pilots than it will need looking ahead to 2021.

Delta Air Lines (DAL 0.71%) and its pilot union worked over the weekend to come up with a plan to avoid future furloughs of 2,300 pilots, reports Reuters. Delta, along with other airlines, has taken federal aid through the Payroll Support Program under the CARES Act, which includes a commitment to retain all employees through Sept. 30, 2020. 

Delta accepted $5.4 billion in assistance, consisting of $3.8 billion as a grant and $1.6 billion as a loan. When it announced a first-quarter loss in April, the airline said it was going through cash at a rate of $100 million per day at the end of the March. Its plan was to cut that in half by the end of June, and the company has since said that it is ahead of that goal. 

overhead view of fleet of airplanes parked

Image source: Getty Images.

The company, along with other airlines, are seeing some demand return as lockdowns from the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions ease. Delta said it is returning some of the domestic and international routes that have been suspended, but "the June schedule is significantly reduced in comparison to last year."

The airline is now working on a "reshuffling process" aimed at aligning staffing to the planned 2021 flying needs, reports Reuters. Employees were asked to petition for anticipated available positions at one of its seven U.S. pilot hubs as the company works to shift around 7,000 pilots to new locations or types of aircraft. 

Over 2,300 pilots reportedly remain unassigned. The pilots union is working with the company on potential early retirement packages or voluntary leave programs for pilots. 

Howard Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Delta Air Lines. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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