Delta Air Lines and the pilots' union have reportedly settled on a preliminary cost-cutting arrangement that would enable the airline to avoid furloughs until the start of 2022, according to CNBC.
Delta said it would postpone putting present furloughs into action until November 28 to allow its nearly 13,000 pilots time to consider and vote on the plan, which would reduce their minimum guaranteed monthly work hours by five percent, as well as reroute 30 hours' weekly partial pay to those pilots who'd already been issued furlough notices and won't need to fly.
In a note to employees, Delta's Chief of Operations John Laughter, said: "While this agreement is still subject to approval by the [union's executive council], we are confident this can help Delta to be better positioned through the long and choppy COVID-19 pandemic recovery."
This agreement arrives as U.S. airlines continue contending with soaring financial losses, which CNBC reported topped $11 billion in 2020's third quarter.
The rest of Delta's staff, including flight attendants, managed to avoid furloughs thanks to the roughly 18,000 employees (about one-fifth of the carrier's pre-pandemic workforce) who opted to take early retirements and buyouts, with thousands more taking unpaid leave.
In August, Delta had warned that it would need to furlough nearly 2,000 of its pilots when payroll protections that were part of the CARES Act expired this fall. Carriers had to accept the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as part of the terms of the U.S. government's initial $25-billion aid package, which prohibited from them furloughing or laying off employees until October 1.
That very day, American Airlines and United Airlines began the process of furloughing over 32,000 employees in the absence of a second round of government-issued financial aid, for which the aviation industry has been adamantly petitioning.
Congress and the White House have been thus far been unable to agree on the terms of a new federal stimulus package. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last week adjourned the Senate until after the November 3 election, further delaying deliberations.
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