Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines issued a statement Monday saying the funding extension “will be essential to enabling the airline industry to recover once vaccinations become widespread.”
Delta said it was able to avoid involuntary furloughs, after having more than 41,000 employees take unpaid leave, cutting staff through about 19,000 buyouts and early retirements, and reducing many employees’ pay and hours.
The roughly 1,700 Delta pilots who are getting about a third of regular pay through a labor agreement approved in late November to avoid furloughs will be restored to full pay for December through March.
But thousands of other workers in the airline industry, including contractors, have been furloughed.
One company that recently issued a notice of layoffs is airline caterer Gate Gourmet in Fulton County, with 351 workers to be affected in February 2021, according to a notice filed with the state labor department. It also laid off workers earlier this year before it received the first round of stimulus funding.
Airline contractors are set to receive a smaller $1 billion batch of relief money in the new stimulus bill, but it’s yet to be seen how that will be distributed.
Delta said it has no planned changes for contractor work, which it downsized before the original stimulus funding round earlier this year.
While the stimulus bill is also expected to restore flights to communities that lost airline service, Delta said it does not have a date to resume service to suspended markets and is monitoring demand.