Delta Air Lines announces first pay raise since before Covid-19

Delta Air Lines on Thursday said it would give most of its 75,000 employees a 4 per cent pay raise effective May 1, 2022, as the airline recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

A company spokeswoman, who confirmed the raise, said some 75,000 employees would receive it, however it would not apply to pilots, who are covered by a union contract, and some others, including high-level executives.

Flight attendants and ground employees, such as ticket and gate agents, baggage handlers and mechanics, will be eligible for the increase, which takes effect May 1, 2022. It applies to employees worldwide, except those subject to a labor agreement. Pilots are Delta’s only major workforce represented by a union and will not receive the raise.

“Delta has a long track record of taking care of our people, and as the CEO said, this is a well-deserved base pay increase for our people who continue to excel at safely taking care of our customers with a travel experience that sets us apart,” an airline spokesman said.

Delta’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ed Bastian said in a note to employees that the Atlanta-based airline is seeing a healthy demand for spring and summer travel as customers continue to return to Delta, with the reopening of the corporate offices, business travelers rebuilding face-to-face relationships, and the lifting of international restrictions.”

“We’re seeing healthy demand for spring and summer travel as customers continue to return to Delta, with corporate offices reopening, business travelers rebuilding in-person relationships, and international restrictions lifting,” he said in a memo.

Although the Atlanta-based airline expects to post a loss in the first quarter, the company remains “optimistic” about their ability to turn a profit this year, he added.

Delta was down 2.7% at $35.92 today, falling along with shares of other airlines after a two-day rally. Delta shares were down 5.5% in the year through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 Airlines Index was down 3.2%.

It is to be noted that airlines were among the hardest-hit during Covid as travel demand dried up, spurring record losses at all the major carriers. But bookings are back on the upswing, particularly for domestic leisure travel.

Congress provided $54 billion in Covid payroll assistance to US airlines, covering much of their payroll costs for an 18-month period ending in September 2020.

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