Delta will warn pilots about possible furloughs, offers early retirement

(Reuters) – Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) said late on Friday it will soon send warning notices to about 2,500 pilots regarding possible furloughs at the airline, as the industry takes a huge blow after the coronavirus pandemic slashed air travel demand.

“In an effort to best prepare our pilots should furloughs be needed, Delta will send required notices to approximately 2,500 pilots,” a Delta spokesperson said in a statement, adding that the so-called ‘WARN’ notices will be sent next week.

Delta also reached a tentative agreement with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) labor union on a pilot-specific voluntary early retirement option.

The early-out plan is a meaningful step as the carrier is working to manage the impact of the pandemic and align staffing with expected flying demand, the statement said.

ALPA did not immediately respond a request for comment after office hours.

A day ago, Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian had informed employees in an internal memo that the company is planning to add about 1,000 flights in August but not many more for the remainder of 2020.

“While it’s encouraging to see flights returning … we likely remain at least two years away from a return to normal,” Bastian said in the memo.

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