Delta Airlines Inc is one of the largest airlines of the United States and a legacy carrier. All airlines have suffered a deep crisis in aviation history due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The demand for air travel is at an all-time low, and the US economy reached an abysmal low in the 2nd quarter of the year. The grim situation has put thousands of airline jobs at risk as the travel industry bigwigs have said that the airlines would take years to recover from the losses.
Delta Airlines, headquartered in Atlanta, has reported a staggering 91% drop in revenues in the 2nd quarter and a pre-tax loss of USD 3.9 billion. In the light of these developments, Delta Airlines was left with no other option but to ask around 3000 of its employees (out of a total strength of 20,000) to take Leave without Pay (LWP) of 4 months to a full one year. They may also consider other options to avoid getting entangled in involuntary furloughs.
Although there were some speculations about the integrity of this news, however, nobody from Delta Airlines was available for comment when requested by Reuters. Delta Airlines have also informed the pilots that the company would avoid furloughs if the pilots agree to a reduced minimum payout.
The airlines have tried to explain their stance by saying that Delta would be overstaffed from October right into the summer of next year (2021), and for this, they need at least 3000 flight attendants to take unpaid leave. However, flight attendants can take advantage of the other options available to them, such as sharing the schedules with other flight attendants, working in alternating months, or agreeing to work in the catering department. It is important to note here that almost 17,000 employees have volunteered to take out early retirement packages, including healthcare benefits and cash in exchange for severance. There is little doubt that these are trying times for all major airlines like Delta Inc.