Bastian wrote in the memo that while the decisions are short-term, “they are all painful and have not been made lightly.”
“I know that a temporary reduction in work hours as we shrink the operation is difficult,” he wrote in a Friday memo to employees. “This shared sacrifice protects everyone’s jobs and helps ensure that we’ll keep climbing, together, when the crisis passes and we begin our recovery.”
He has said the company is bleeding $50 million in cash a day, and asked employees to volunteer to take unpaid leave as the carrier struggles through the largest cutbacks in its history.
More than 7,000 flight attendants are taking voluntary leave, while others are working reduced hours, according to Bastian.
He added that the company could use more employees volunteering to take unpaid leave.
Delta is slashing more than 70% of flights, including 85,000 flights in April, and parking at least half of its fleet, or more than 600 planes. It is also shrinking its presence at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, its largest hub. Delta officers, managing directors and directors are taking pay cuts of 25% or 50%.
Bastian said in the memo he has also asked the pilots union to consider other measures to help the company save cash.
Hartsfield-Jackson general manager John Selden said passenger counts at the world's busiest airport are down as much as 85%.
As airlines rush to adjust to the sharp decline in travel as borders close and people all over the world stay home, Delta and other carriers have lobbied for the approval of billions in grants and loans that are included in the coronavirus aid package in Congress.
The bill, which has been approved by the Senate and is awaiting a vote by the House on Friday, has conditions on the funding including that airlines would not be able to conduct involuntary furloughs of workers or cut their pay through Sept. 30.