Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Delta Air Lines and its pilots union say they have reached an agreement in principle under which the carrier would avoid furloughing pilots until 2022.
In a memo to flight operation employees Thursday, Delta Senior Vice President John Laughter said that the agreement allows the carrier to generate "much needed savings through a path to help avoid furloughs."
The Air Line Pilots Association negotiating committee told members the agreement would provide furlough protection "for every Delta pilot on the seniority list until January 1, 2022."
Once the contractual language is finalized and agreed upon, the agreement in principle will become a "tentative agreement" and be put up for a vote by Delta's 14,000 pilots.
"While this agreement is still subject to approval by [ALPA], we are confident this can help Delta to be better positioned through the long and choppy COVID-19 pandemic recovery," Laughter wrote in the memo.
Avoiding furloughs, he wrote, has been "a key goal of ours from the beginning."
While competitors American Airlines and United Airlines began furloughing more than 30,000 employees this month with the expiration of federal COVID-19 stimulus protections, Delta has avoided doing so through a program of buyouts, early retirements and other cost-cutting measures.
Delta posted a net loss of $5.4 billion in the third quarter, $4 billion directly related to COVID-19, including fleet-related restructuring charges.