Delta to pay $10.5 million to settle probe into mail delivery times

Delta airplanes are seen on the tarmac at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia on January 16th, 2022 as a winter storm impacts travel.

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Combined ShapeCaption
Delta airplanes are seen on the tarmac at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia on January 16th, 2022 as a winter storm impacts travel.

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Settlement follows similar agreements with other air carriers.

The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday it has reached a settlement for Delta Air Lines to pay $10.5 million to resolve an investigation into alleged false reporting of international mail delivery times that were reported to the U.S. Postal Service.

Atlanta-based Delta collected mail in the U.S. and at Defense Department and State Department locations abroad for delivery to international and domestic destinations under a contract with USPS. That includes mail sent to military personnel deployed overseas.

The airline was required to scan mail receptacles to report when the mail was delivered. If the mail was late or delivered to the wrong place, there are penalties.

The Justice Department said the settlement “resolves allegations that scans submitted by Delta falsely reported the time and fact that it transferred possession of the mail.” The claims covered a period from April 1, 2010 through Jan. 25, 2016 under the postal contract.

The settlement terms also note that it is not an admission of liability by Delta. Half of the settlement amount, or $5.25 million, is restitution.

Delta issued a statement saying: “Delta Cargo is a longstanding partner of the U.S. Postal Service. With this matter now concluded, we look forward to continuing to move USPS mail and freight for our shared customers across our global network.”

The resolution is the latest in a series of settlements of federal investigations into international delivery issues under airline postal service contracts. Sandy Springs-based UPS in March agreed to pay $5.3 million, United Airlines last year agreed to pay $49 million, and American Airlines agreed to pay $22.1 million in 2019 to settle similar allegations.

“The United States expects the air carriers with which the USPS contracts to accurately report the services they provide,” Brian M. Boynton, principal deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s civil division, said in a written statement. He added that the settlement reflects a commitment to “pursuing contractors that do not meet their contractual obligations to the United States and misrepresent their failure to perform.”