The tentative agreement provides career growth opportunities as well as pay and benefits improvements for Delta pilots, while providing Delta productivity gains and additional aircraft flexibility, including an opportunity to accelerate its domestic fleet restructuring to provide a better customer travel experience.
If ratified, the agreement will accelerate Delta's domestic fleet restructuring strategy. To this end, Delta has reached an agreement in principle with Southwest Airlines and Boeing to lease 88 Boeing 717 aircraft currently in service at Southwest subsidiary AirTran Airways that is conditioned upon pilot ratification of the tentative agreement. The aircraft will primarily replace inefficient 50-seat regional jets and some older DC-9 aircraft still in service, on a capacity-neutral basis.
The tentative agreement also provides Delta with additional flexibility to acquire up to 70 larger two-class, 76-seat regional jets as the Boeing 717 aircraft are delivered to Delta. Delta currently operates 255 larger two-class regional jets; the fleet will be increased to 325 aircraft.
"These actions pave the way for us to restructure and upgauge our domestic fleet, which will lower our costs, provide more pilot jobs and improve the onboard experience for our customers," said Delta CEO Richard Anderson. "The addition of the Boeing 717s, additional large regional jets and the planned replacement of 50-seat aircraft continue Delta's commitment to operating an efficient, flexible domestic fleet that offers customers even more opportunities to upgrade to our First Class and Economy Comfort cabins."
In addition to aircraft flexibility, the tentative agreement will provide for productivity enhancements as well as improvements to the total compensation package for Delta pilots, including increases to base pay. The agreement also provides for a modification of the profit sharing program for pilots so that it pays 10 percent of profits, compared with 15 percent today, on the first $2.5 billion of profits effective Jan. 1, 2013. The plan will continue to pay 20 percent of profits above $2.5 billion. A voluntary early retirement option recently offered to Delta's other employee groups also will be available to Delta pilots upon ratification of the tentative agreement