CHICAGO, IL – Delta Air Lines said today that it would grant voluntary buyouts to the more than 2,100 employees requesting them, but the number of job cuts could grow as the company assesses future labor needs.
The world’s largest airline previously said it would cut capacity by 6 percent to 8 percent this year as economic weakness erodes travel demand. Delta, which eliminated 4,000 jobs last year though voluntary exit packages, has not offered a firm estimate for the total number of jobs it would need to cut to achieve its downsizing. The carrier currently has more than 70,000 workers.
“We will be thoughtful, yet decisive, in managing through this global recession,” Delta said in an internal memo. “In the end, we have to have the right size airplanes in the right markets to match the number of customers who want to buy tickets, and we have to have the right number of people to serve those customers,” Delta said.
Delta, which merged last year with Northwest Airlines, announced in December the new round of capacity cuts that would be in addition to an 11 percent reduction in the second half of 2008.
Major US airlines began a massive downsizing last year to offset fuel costs and to manage weaker travel demand.