Delta Air Lines’ Chairman and CEO Leo F. Mullin told company employees in a memorandum issued today that, due to dramatically lower demand for air travel and resulting unprecedented financial losses since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Delta must reduce staffing by 7,000 to 8,000 jobs from its workforce, including management. Mullin said that it is Delta’s hope that a significant number of these reductions will come through voluntary programs.
Delta will offer short-term and longer-term leaves of absence, an early retirement program and a voluntary severance program. Full details of the voluntary programs will be made available to employees next week. If there are not enough volunteers for these programs, it will be necessary to initiate involuntary furloughs.
“In the current environment, with a high number of available seats and a low level of passenger demand, traffic continues to be stimulated primarily by fare sales that have driven revenue down to levels last seen in 1995,” Mullin said in the employee memorandum. “Until demand returns and business conditions otherwise improve, Delta’s survival and our potential for future success requires that we maintain tight control of all facets of the business. And, we must continue making the difficult but necessary decisions that will allow us to emerge successfully following these challenging times.”
Mullin added, “Because we respect and value the contributions of all members of the Delta team, we have worked, within the current financial constraints, to offer eligible employees voluntary programs….We hope that a significant number of the required job reductions will be met through these voluntary programs. If not, however, then involuntary furloughs will be necessary.”
Delta announced earlier this week that it is further reducing costs and capacity by grounding its MD-11 fleet and deferring all mainline aircraft deliveries in 2003 and 2004.
“I would like to express once more my deep appreciation for the commitment and expertise that Delta people bring to everything they do, from excellent customer service to unsurpassed teamwork and leadership,” said Mullin. “While the current environment is treacherous and our airline is undergoing its most trying period ever, I believe the difficult but necessary steps we are taking combined with the winning spirit that has long characterized Delta Air Lines will ensure that success lies ahead.”