Delta Air Lines has 'real shot' at avoiding layoffs, furloughs: CEO

20% of Delta's workforce agreed to early retirement, Bastian said

Delta Air Lines has a "real shot" at avoiding layoffs and furloughs, despite the devastating toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on the airline industry, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said on Thursday.

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"One of the things we said at the beginning of the pandemic was that if we could avoid layoffs, certainly minimize layoffs, that would be a real testament to the strength of the company," Bastian told "Mornings with Maria." "We’ve got a real shot at doing just that."

Airlines cannot lay off employees before Oct. 1, under the terms agreed upon when accepting the aid package from the federal government.

More than 17,000 people, or 20 percent of Delta's workforce, agreed to early retirement, Bastian said.

An agent works the counter at the Delta Air Lines terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport, Thursday, May 28, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

"On top of that, we have monthly leaves of absence, unpaid leaves of absence," he said. "In the current month, we have over 40,000 of our people on those."

In addition, roughly 15,000 Delta employees expressed interest in early buyout packages, Reuters reported. Other airlines may not be as well-positioned to avoid layoffs. American Airlines is notifying 25,000 employees of potential furloughs, the company said on Wednesday.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
DALDELTA AIR LINES INC.29.09-0.55-1.86%

The company likely won't recover from the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the economy for two years, Bastian said in a statement earlier this week when Delta posted its quarterly results.

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Delta saw a 94 percent drop in passenger revenue and a 65 percent drop in non-ticket revenue.

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