Delta to cut 13,000 jobs
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Delta Air Lines announced Wednesday it is cutting 13,000 employees and trimming schedules by 15 percent as a result of the economic impact of terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Delta Chairman and CEO Leo Mullin said Delta is facing "an unparalleled crisis" and is taking unprecedented steps to meet it.
"We can't take chances on the survival of Delta," said Mullin, "and the steps we are taking here will ensure Delta's survival under any circumstances."
He said the key will be rebuilding passenger loads. To that end, he said, Delta will be cutting prices. As part of that plan, he said, up to 10,000 discount tickets will be offered to entice people to fly to New York.
Mullin said that Delta's passenger miles since the attacks have been running about 60 percent of the level normally expected.
On some routes, like shuttle flights to New York, the airline is carrying one-fifteenth of its usual load.
"Normally on the shuttle we would carry 3,000 passengers a day," Mullin said. "Yesterday it was 200."
He said the airline is offering voluntary programs for leaves, early retirement and severance which he described as the "most generous in the industry."
Under some of the plans, he said, employees would be given the option of returning the future.
Mullin said Delta does not expect to reach the full 13,000 through the voluntary programs and will lay off enough employees to meet the 13,000 target by December 31.
Among those who will be affected by the job cut, he said, will be pilots. Between 1,500 and 1,700 pilots could be included in the 13,000, he said.
Mullin said there will be a number of other cutbacks and he is giving up his salary for the remainder of the year. Even with all these steps, he said, the airline will still be losing money.
One of the cutbacks, he said, will be the reduction of food service on some flights and its elimination on others.
However, he said Delta still considers itself the most employee-friendly airline. No one is being escorted off Delta property, he said, and even those who take leave will be given options for free travel in the future.
About 86,000 job cuts have been announced across the airline industry since the September 11 terrorist attacks. AMR Corp., parent of American Airlines, and UAL Corp., parent of United Airlines, are each cutting 20,000 jobs. Northwest, Continental and US Airways also previously announced job cuts of 10,000 to 11,000.
Mullin said that until the terror attacks the airline industry had consumer confidence and a great safety record with no airline fatalities in 1998 and 1999.
"We've lost that" as a result of the terror attacks, he said, "but we intend to get it back."
He said the feeling in the industry is that security should "be federalized." He said he advocates putting "sky marshals" on airplanes and would favor giving pilots guns under the right circumstances.
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