Delta Air Lines passenger aircraft will be parked at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Alabama on March 25, 2020 as flight reductions have been implemented to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Elijah Nouvelage | Reuters
Delta Air Lines' CEO said Thursday that more than 17,000 employees – almost a fifth of its employees – have decided to leave the company because of the coronavirus pandemic, but it doesn't seem to be enough to get involuntary To get through vacation days completely from the table.
Delta and other airlines have asked employees to accept buyouts, early retirement, and unpaid packages as the sector's financial losses increase. In some cases, airlines offer long-term medical care, severance payments, and flight services to encourage volunteers to sign up, and force workers to weigh the packages against the risk of job cuts in the fall.
"I know that these were difficult, personal decisions for everyone and their families," said Ed Bastian, Delta CEO, in a memo to the employees. "Anyone who chooses to voluntarily opt out brings us closer to our goal of minimizing vacation time and positioning Delta to cope with the restless recovery in the coming months and years."
A federal $ 25 billion federal aid package prohibits airlines from firing workers until October 1. Federal regulations generally require employers to notify workers at least 60 days in advance if their jobs are at risk, which would fall this weekend.
Delta made no statement beyond Bastian's memo.
Delta has already warned more than 2,500 of its 14,000 pilots about possible vacation. The pilots union is sparring with the company after the Atlanta-based airline urged airmen to cut minimum wages to avoid involuntary cuts for a year.
In the past few weeks, United and American have warned around 61,000 employees about a possible job cut as air traffic continues to be depressed. Southwest said last week that it did not intend to leave its employees on leave this year after 17,000 of its employees, approximately 28% of its workforce, signed up for an extended, partially paid vacation or retirement.
Executives said a recovery in demand towards the end of the second quarter had gradually reversed as coronavirus cases increased and states like New York placed quarantine orders for incoming travelers.