Delta Air Lines announced Tuesday that its employees will receive a 5% raise, the second pay hike they’ll receive within a 12-month period.
The raises come after multiple years of instability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted pay cuts and renewed unionization efforts among air travel workers. However, Delta had a lucrative 2022, reporting a $1.3 billion profit, signaling air travel has rebounded from the pandemic’s deep losses.
Delta employees received a 4% pay raise last May, the first broad raise they received since 2019.
As a result of last year’s profits, Delta will also pay out $563 million in profit-sharing bonuses — nearly 5.6% more — to its employees on Valentine’s Day.
The Atlanta-based airline said the latest pay raises will apply to all employees who are not covered by an industry, government or collective bargaining agreement. Delta is Georgia’s largest private employer, with more than 35,000 employees.
“This well-earned increase is a direct result of your efforts,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a memo to employees Tuesday.
In 2020, when the pandemic caused a 60% drop in air travel, more than 40,000 Delta employees took unpaid leave, and many who continued working saw their hours and pay cut by 25% or more. Their pay was restored to previous levels in 2021.
As a result of last year’s profits, Delta will also pay out $563 million in profit-sharing bonuses to its employees on Valentine’s Day.
This year, Delta expects to continue its recovery from the impact of the pandemic, forecasting 15-20% growth in revenue as it works to fully restore its flight schedule by this summer. But the company also expects to see increased labor costs, cutting into first-quarter profits — including the impact of a proposed new pilot union contract to include an initial 18% pay increase.
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