Delta delays decision to furlough up to 2,000 pilots until Nov. 1, union says

The carrier had previously planned to lay off about 1,941 pilots in October

Delta Air Lines has delayed a decision to furlough close to 2,000 pilots until Nov. 1, the union representing its pilots said Tuesday.

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"This move will provide time as we continue to lobby for a clean extension of the CARES Act and the Payroll Support Program and resume our negotiations with Delta," the Delta chapter of the Air Lines Pilots Association said in a statement provided to FOX Business.

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The air carrier had previously planned to lay off about 1,941 pilots in October unless it received additional federal funding from Congress as the travel industry struggles to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.

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Delta employs about 13,000 pilots.

Under the terms of a $25 billion bailout fund that was created earlier this year as part of the CARES Act, airlines are prohibited from cutting jobs or reducing workers' pay through Sept. 30. Delta received $5.4 billion through the program.

Delta said last week that it will avoid involuntary furloughs for most frontline employees, the result of thousands of employees who participated in voluntary leave programs and reduced work hours.

The airline has "effectively managed our staffing between now and the start of peak summer 2021 travel," CEO Ed Bastian said in a memo to employees. The jobs of flight attendants, ground-based frontline employees and others were saved because 40,000 employees signed up for short- and long-term unpaid leaves of absences.

DELTA TO AVOID MOST INVOLUNTARY FURLOUGHS, BUT PILOTS STILL FACE LAYOFFS

Airlines are required to inform employees of mass layoffs 60 to 90 days ahead of time.

Industry executives met with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday to lobby for another $25 billion in funding in hopes of staving off tens of thousands of job losses.

An impasse between White House officials and Democratic leaders over what to include in another aid package has continued to persist more than one month after negotiations first collapsed, imperiling the chances of a stimulus deal before the November election.

"A CARES Act extension will save Delta pilots jobs along with tens of thousands of other airline workers industry-wide," the union said. "Keeping these employees working will invigorate our economy, avert the depletion of state and federal resources, and firmly place the airline industry in the starting blocks for a quick rebound after we tame the virus."

More fiscal aid for airlines has garnered support among some Republicans and Democrats. At the end of July, a majority of House lawmakers penned a letter calling for a six-month extension of the payroll support program for airlines.

“Without an extension of the [Payroll Support Program] before then, hundreds of thousands of airline workers will be fired or furloughed on October 1,” the lawmakers wrote. The letter, spearheaded by House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., was signed by 223 House members, including 195 Democrats and 28 Republicans.

The Trump administration has said it would consider an executive action to prevent airline furloughs, but it's unclear what that would entail.

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