Due to the coronavirus pandemic the aviation sector is suffering the most. However, there are more than 80,000 pilots, flight attendants. And other airline workers face unpaid time off and an uncertain future.
Major US airlines are facing loss and filing for bankruptcy as the coronavirus continues to spread.
As Delta Air Lines’ CEO Ed Bastian said after the Atlanta-based carrier reported a record adjusted quarterly loss of $2.8 billion last month. “I don’t think we’ll ever get back entirely to where we were in 2019 on the volume of business traffic.”
However, almost 17,000 employees of Delta airline which is about 20% of its workforce have left the company. They have either taken early retirement or buyout packages the company informed.
The cutbacks are “a difficult but necessary step towards Delta’s transformation into a smaller, more nimble airline. That will be better positioned to endure the crisis and recover quickly,” Bastian wrote in a memo to employees. “We will be guided in the second half of the year by our goal to eliminate our daily cash burn. While improving customer satisfaction and building loyalty that will serve us when demand recovers.”
More Furloughs From October
However, other airlines are losing millions in cash daily and are informing their employees that furloughs are likely to be from October 1.
American Airlines will be cutting about 25,000 front-line workers by October 1. However, the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier recently reached a deal with its 14,000-member pilots union. To offer more leaves and early retirement packages to limit the coming carnage. It’s also extending until August 12 a deadline for other workers to decide whether to take voluntary leave with reduced pay or early retirement.
Moreover, United Airlines also warns its workforce that half of them will be facing furlough this fall. The airline’s tally of 36,000 workers includes 15,000 flight attendants. 11,000 customer service reps and gate agents, 5,550 maintenance employees and 2,250 pilots.
Alaska Airlines is sending notices of potential furloughs to 4,200 front-line employees, but expects the final count to be lower. About a third of Alaska Airlines’ 3,100 pilots have opted to take voluntarily leave or early retirement, letting the carrier avoid pilot furloughs for now. Overall, Alaska Airlines plans to shrink its workforce by 35%, but market conditions could change the equation.
“We’re making tough decisions to right-size Alaska Airlines for future success, but it means we’re losing fantastic people. We must furlough some people, and those decisions are very difficult,” an Alaska Airlines spokesperson said.
“We’re in the midst of the biggest demand contraction in the history of our industry,” Alaska Airlines President Ben Minicucci said on the airline’s second quarter earnings call.