- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 1, 2001

ATLANTA (AP) Delta Air Lines, which was planning to cut 13,000 jobs, said yesterday only 2,000 employees will be laid off because 11,000 took early retirement or a one-year voluntary leave.
The 13,000 cuts, 15.8 percent of its work force, are part of a broader effort to reduce operations because of dramatically less traffic since the September 11 terrorist attacks.
"The early retirement package was sweet," said Mark Baxter, a Delta human resources general manager.
About 4,200 employees chose to retire early, many lured by a company offer to add five years to their service records for better pension benefits, said Mark Baxter, a Delta human resources general manager. Delta employees are eligible for full pension benefits at age 60.
Of the 2,000 who will be laid off, 1,700 are pilots who are not eligible for a retirement package the company offered.
The first 400 pilots will be fired today, said Karen Miller, a spokeswoman for their union, the Air Line Pilots Association.
ALPA authorized Delta's union chairman to file a grievance if attorneys decide the company violated a no-furlough clause, she added.
Miss Baxter said the one-year voluntary furlough with medical benefits "was really popular with the flight attendant group, people for whom it might be a second job."
Initially, the company expected voluntary programs to account for 6,500 to 8,500 job reductions. Delta has about 82,500 employees.
"We are extremely pleased. This response exceeds our most optimistic expectations," Chief Executive Officer Leo Mullin said at a news conference.
Delta has eliminated about 16 percent of the 2,700 daily flights it had before the attacks. Delta shares rose 11 cents yesterday to close at $22.86.
Delta plans to report its third-quarter earnings today and most observers expect a large loss. Mr. Mullin said October revenue was down 45 percent from last year and traffic was down one-third.

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