Delta Air Lines has reached an agreement with its pilots’ union to offer partial pay amidst dramatic flight cutbacks and the grounding of planes due to the coronavirus.
The deal comes just days after Delta CEO Ed Bastian said he would forgo his paycheck for the next six months to help the airline – but also asked employees to do their part by taking unpaid leave. At the same time, Delta grounded 300 aircraft and cut capacity by 40 percent.
The Atlanta-based carrier’s deal with the union includes partial paid time off between now and June, and potentially longer according to CNBC.
“Delta and our pilots find ourselves navigating a public health and economic crisis in which the landscape changes daily,” the Air Line Pilots Association said in a statement. “Delta pilots are dedicated to the success of our airline and will continue to work with management as we navigate through these extraordinary times.”
It was agreed that Delta pilots who feel feverish, have a cough or difficulty breathing need to call in sick, according to a note the union sent to pilots. Pilots who are diagnosed with the disease will have pay protections for lost flying time.
JetBlue told employees on Saturday they can get up to 14 days paid sick leave if employees test positive for COVID-19 or are forced to quarantine. But, like Delta, it too has asked employees to take unpaid leave.
“In almost a century of commercial aviation, the coronavirus pandemic has already secured its place as the worldwide industry’s single greatest challenge,” JetBlue’s president, Joanna Geraghty, said in a note to employees. “The new plan announced here will add new costs. To the extent these efforts may slow or blunt the spread of this disease among Crewmembers and the general public, they will be worth every penny.”
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