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Pilots accept lower pay to prevent over 1,700 furloughs as pandemic roils airline industry

Delta Air Lines Inc. pilots agreed to accept reduced pay in exchange for job security until 2022, as the industry continues to grapple with reduced travel demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Delta and the union that represents its pilots said Wednesday that the cost-cutting agreement would prevent the more than 1,700 pilot furloughs the carrier had originally planned. Under the agreement, pilots who would have been furloughed will receive pay for 30 hours a month, though they won’t have to fly. Delta would also be able to reduce pilots’ minimum guaranteed work hours by as much as 5%, which results in lower pay, and the company agreed not to carry out furloughs until Jan. 1, 2022.

“Pilots, as long-term stakeholders in our company, have stepped up to the plate once again to help Delta weather this crisis,” said First Officer Chris Riggins, a spokesman for the union that represents Delta’s pilots.

Airlines have had to shrink to match a diminished outlook for travel demand. The global airline industry is forecast to lose $38.7 billion next year even if Covid-19 vaccines and testing help reopen more borders, the International Air Transport Association said earlier this week.

Excerpt from WSJ
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