Delta to warn over 2,500 pilots about potential furloughs

Delta to warn over 2,500 pilots about potential furloughs

Delta Air Lines reportedly plans to warn over 2,500 of its pilots that furloughs could be coming, as the airline company struggles to regain its footing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While Delta and the labor union that represents the company's 14,000 pilots have reached an agreement for an early retirement package, airline officials signaled that it won't be enough to prevent additional furloughs from occurring.

“As we’ve communicated previously, early retirements alone likely won’t be enough to avoid pilot furloughs altogether,” Delta’s senior vice president of flight operations John Laughter said in a memo obtained by CNBC on Friday.

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He added: "With that in mind and given that we won’t know the results of the early-out for a few weeks, we must continue to move ahead to address pilot overstaffing. In an effort to best prepare our pilots, we will send notices to 2,558 pilots as required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act [“WARN Act”] next week to let them know of a possible furlough."

About 7,900 of the Delta's pilots will be eligible for the early retirement option, Laughter noted, according to CNBC. Pilots can apply for early retirement starting in July and will know by the beginning of August if they've been accepted, according to the outlet.

The labor union has said that with the retirement plan, a pilot would get paid for 58 hours a month until reaching age 65 or for 36 months, whichever comes first. Delta would also reportedly cover up to two years of health insurance premiums and a year of travel benefits for the pilots who decide to take early retirement.

Last month, Delta also offered the rest of its employees early retirement and buyout options. While demand for flying has somewhat returned despite the prevalence of the pandemic, it is nowhere near where it is usually.

The $25 billion received by airlines in federal relief bar airlines from laying off or cutting the pay of any of their employees until after Sept. 30.