Release #: DAL 20.01
August 24, 2020

Delta Pilots Respond to Recent Furlough Announcements

Pilots’ Union Disappointed at Management’s Choice to Furlough 1,941 Pilots

ATLANTA, Ga.—First Officer Chris Riggins, Communications chairman of the Delta Air Lines Master Executive Council (MEC) of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l (ALPA), issued the following statement in response to Delta Air Lines’ decision to furlough 1,941 pilots effective Oct. 1, 2020:

“The Delta MEC is extremely disappointed that management has chosen to furlough 1,941 pilots effective October 1. While the rest of the industry is working with their employees to explore and develop creative solutions that mitigate massive layoffs, Delta management has instead decided to use the threat of furloughs to force acceptance of involuntary concessions.

“ALPA has drafted numerous, mutually beneficial proposals that would provide the airline with voluntary cost-saving measures like those agreed to at virtually every other U.S. carrier. In fact, on September 1, more than 1,500 pilots will voluntarily leave their careers as Delta Air Lines pilots, with hundreds more following that, so that their colleagues have a chance to continue to pursue their profession. 

“This management team has repeatedly struggled to maintain proper staffing in healthy situations. This drastic reduction of nearly 4,000 pilots will unquestionably undermine our airline’s ability to successfully and efficiently increase flying and take advantage of competitive opportunities as the industry recovers.

“No amount of furlough notices will detract ALPA from our goal of finding ways to help our airline. Despite repeated promises that avoiding furloughs was a top priority, Delta pilots remain the only major employee group to be notified that they will lose their jobs. Despite the furlough notices, ALPA will continue to work with our airline to find mitigations for this temporary overstaffing.

“While we should be talking about real solutions to save jobs, Delta’s most junior pilots are facing unnecessary career uncertainty when ALPA has offered countless voluntary options to management to prevent furloughs from occurring. It’s not too late for management to complete discussions at the bargaining table and help mitigate the need to furlough. It’s not too late for them to take a constructive, rather than a destructive, approach in dealing with this unprecedented situation.”

“Despite management’s announcement today, ALPA is prepared to take care of our fellow pilots by funding COBRA premiums and offering access to professional and personal resources. This union will stand by its members during this difficult and uncertain time.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents over 63,000 pilots at 35 U.S. and Canadian airlines, including the 14,500 pilots at Delta Air Lines (DAL: NYSE). Visit the ALPA website at or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.