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Delta files notice with state for more than 800 potential pilot furloughs

This comes as CEO Ed Bastian acknowledged in a widely reported memo to employees that 20% of the company's workforce left voluntarily last week.

ATLANTA — Delta filed a notice this week with the Georgia Department of Labor for the potential furlough of more than 800 of its Atlanta-based pilots.

Our partners at the Atlanta Business Chronicle report that the airliner, one of Georgia's largest employers, filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) with the state DOL for 816 furloughs that would take effect Oct. 1.

According to Atlanta Business Chronicle, a WARN notice "requires companies with more than 100 employees to provide a 60-day notice of mass layoffs." Delta did not immediately provide comment.

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According to CNBC, Delta had been seeking to reduce pilot pay as a way to avoid furloughs.

This comes as CEO Ed Bastian acknowledged in a widely reported memo to employees on Thursday that 20% of the company's workforce left voluntarily last week through early retirements and buyouts.

In the memo, Bastian called it a "difficult but necessary step towards Delta's transformation into a smaller, more nimble airline that will be better positioned to endure the crisis and recover quickly."

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Atlanta Business Chronicle also reports "roughly half of the workforce has gone on voluntary unpaid leave since the pandemic began to take its toll in March."

Perhaps no industry has been as battered by the COVID-19 outbreak than the airline industry, which has seen once-unthinkable losses as people have avoided air travel since the onset of the pandemic.

With no end in sight to the COVID-19 pandemic and no certainty even a vaccine will quickly bring back travelers, Bastian wrote to employees: "We continue to plan for a long and somewhat choppy recovery."

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