Breaking: Delta Air Lines confirms no furloughs for flight attendants

Sep 5, 2020

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Some rare good news from the airline industry came late Friday: Delta Air Lines says that thanks to voluntary leave and early retirements, it will not have to furlough any additional flight attendants this year, reports View from the Wing.

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“With the overwhelming response of flight attendants choosing to participate in our creative staffing options — and based on our current network schedule — we are positioned well to be able to successfully manage through our flight attendant overstaffing situation,” Delta spokesperson Amanda Eatman told TPG. “We’re grateful for the continued rallying spirit of Delta people during the pandemic.”

17,000 Delta Air Lines employees took early retirement or buyouts.

Back in July, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said the airline was doing everything it could to avoid layoffs. And that effort appears to have been successful so far — at least when it comes to flight attendants. In August, Delta said it would have to furlough as many as 2,500 pilots and would downgrade three flight attendant bases as part of a downsizing.

Related: Delta sending Airbus A350s to Los Angeles, will close Cincinnati pilot base

The news on flight attendants is a better sign.

Delta flight attendants have taken to social media to express their appreciation. One employee tweeted, “Thank you Delta for doing everything to avoid furloughs for flight attendants like me.”

TPG’s Ned Russell reports Delta is only planning on flying half its 2019 schedule by the end of 2020.

Related: Delta operates final MD-88, MD-90 flights amid tough times for airlines

Both American Airlines and United Airlines have announced they would layoff tens of thousands of employees ahead of the expiration of the CARES Act. That’s the bailout Congress passed to help airlines survive during the severe downturn due to coronavirus. Funding to continue paying salaries expires on September 30. Industry lobbyists and unions are pushing Congress to extend the payroll protection program through March 31, 2021.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned the industry won’t fully recover until 2024.

Related: Delta Air Lines will shrink its European footprint after coronavirus

Additional reporting by Ned Russell.

Featured image by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy.

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