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Delta delays pilot furloughs to Nov. 1

Delta delays pilot furloughs to Nov. 1
© Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Delta Air Lines will delay the effective date for pilot furloughs to Nov. 1, the company announced in a memo to employees obtained by The Hill.

Delta pilots who received a notice on Aug. 28 that they were being furloughed on Oct. 1 will remain flying through October, wrote John Laughter, Delta’s senior vice president of flight operations. 

Airlines are prohibited from firing or laying off any employees until Oct. 1 under the terms of the relief funding they received in March.

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Delta is planning to furlough potentially 220 pilots, according to the memo. Delta has a committee that is still working towards avoiding furloughs all together. Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in July that the company had a “real shot” of avoiding layoffs because 20 percent of the workforce voluntarily agreed to retire. 

“We look forward to working with the Negotiating Committee to reach a deal – supporting our goal to make it through this prolonged recovery without involuntary furloughs. While we’re also watching the progress of the possible CARES Act extension, it is important that we reach an agreement now that spreads the work of approximately 12,000 active pilots across a network schedule that in Summer 2021 only requires about 9,500 pilots to fly it,” Laughter wrote.

Delta announced last week it will not furlough any flight attendants and front-line workers in 2020 due to the many employees who opted for early retirement. Over 40,000 employees voluntarily signed up for short- and long-term unpaid leaves of absences and 20 percent chose to voluntarily exit the company.

Airline CEOs and union leaders urged the White House and Congress last week to reach a deal that would extend the relief funding they received in March by another six months. That extension would allow other airlines to avoid the Oct. 1 layoffs.