World News

Delta parks 600 jets and scales back flights as revenue tanks

By Tracy Rucinski

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Delta Air Lines <DAL.N> said on Wednesday it was parking more than 600 jets, cutting corporate pay by as much as 50%, and scaling back its flying by more than 70% until demand begins to recover from the coronavirus epidemic hit.

In a memo to employees, Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian said the company would continue taking “all necessary self-help measures,” with cash preservation the top priority, even as it remains optimistic of industry support from the White House and Congress.

The Trump administration on Wednesday proposed $50 billion in loans for U.S. airlines, according to a document seen by Reuters, with requirements including limits on increases in executive compensation until the loans are repaid.

Some Democratic lawmakers – eager to avoid mistakes they say were made after the September 2001 attacks – have demanded additional requirements, including protections for employees and a ban on share buybacks.

Delta said its officers will take a 50% pay cut through June 30 while board members forgo pay for the next six months. Bastian has already given up his salary for the next six months.

With fewer customers flying, the company is consolidating airport facilities in Atlanta and other locations, closing the majority of its Delta Sky Clubs, and reducing other spending in an effort to save more than $4 billion in cash in the second quarter.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski, Editing by Franklin Paul and Rosalba O’Brien)