While higher fuel costs have pushed airlines to raise fees and slash capacity, some, such as Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL), have been forced to take more permanent measures to tackle the challenges.
The airline is aiming to cut at least 4% of its capacity after Labor Day, according to Bloomberg News, and said it will offer early retirement and buyout packages to the majority of its 80,000 U.S. employees.
Workers with 10 years of service whose age and service total at least 55 years will be eligible for the retirement, while those with only five years of service can take buyout packages, Delta CEO Richard Anderson reportedly told employees in his weekly recorded message. The programs will be voluntary.
Delta has said it will slash available seats after the peak summer travel season in an effort to spend less on fuel with its least-efficient aircraft out of the air. The company plans on retiring 140 aircraft over the next 18 months.
Its latest move, though, will have a more lasting impact on its fiscal results and cuts deeper than those actions taken by rivals American Airlines (NYSE:AMR) and United Continental (NYSE:UAL), which both announced plans to cut capacity growth by 1% to 3%.