- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 22, 2005

ATLANTA (AP) — Delta Air Lines Inc. moved quickly yesterday to reduce costs, announcing it will eliminate up to 9,000 more jobs, slash pay for executives and other employees and cut domestic capacity while adding more international flights.

The changes, announced just eight days after the company filed for bankruptcy protection, were not a surprise, but the speed in putting them forth was, said airline analyst Ray Neidl at Calyon Securities.

“It shows that they’re determined to turn this airline around,” Mr. Neidl said.

That won’t happen without pain for many employees who stuck with the nation’s third-biggest carrier through nearly $10 billion in losses and earlier rounds of cuts that have shed 24,000 jobs since 2001. The job cuts announced yesterday, which will be phased in over more than a year, represent 17 percent of the work force at Delta’s flagship operation.

The Atlanta-based airline’s chief executive officer, Gerald Grinstein, said in a memo to employees that the changes could prompt some of them to leave the company.

“Delta people understandably must make career decisions based on their own best interests and personal circumstances,” Mr. Grinstein wrote. “For those who leave the company either through choice or by the plan’s requirements, I hope you know how much your service has been appreciated.”

To those who stay, Mr. Grinstein said, Delta “needs every ounce of your proven professionalism.”

The changes are part of Delta’s effort to save an additional $3 billion annually by the end of 2007. That’s on top of $5 billion Delta previously had said it wanted to save by the end of 2006.

Mr. Grinstein’s $450,000 annual salary will be cut by 25 percent, while all other executives will take a 15 percent pay cut.

The 7,000 to 9,000 job cuts will come from the 52,000 persons employed by Delta’s flagship airline and not by any of its affiliated airlines, spokeswoman Chris Kelly said.

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