ATLANTA, March 10, 2009 – Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) today issued the following memo to its more than 70,000 employees worldwide from CEO Richard Anderson and President Edward H. Bastian.
Responding To A Worsening Global Economy
The worsening global economy continues to place additional pressure on the airline industry. In just the few months since we last announced capacity reductions, revenues have weakened, particularly in international markets. Once again, we must move quickly to adjust our capacity and stay in front of demand changes.
This morning at an investor conference in New York, we will announce plans to reduce international capacity an additional 10% beginning in September. These reductions will be targeted to areas where we’ve seen the most revenue weakness – the Atlantic and Pacific networks. Trans-Atlantic capacity this winter will be down 11 – 13% and trans-Pacific down 12 – 14% compared to winter 2008. To achieve these capacity changes, we will exit low performing markets, down-gauge certain routes, adjust frequencies, and move some markets to seasonal service.
We remain focused on our goal to build a diversified, profitable worldwide network. To this end, even as we reduce our Atlantic and Pacific capacity, our Latin America capacity will be up slightly in the fourth quarter, as we take advantage of targeted growth opportunities through new routes and increased frequencies.
These reductions are in addition to the December announcement to reduce systemwide 2009 capacity by 6 - 8% year over year. As a result of the voluntary programs just concluded, nearly 2,100 of our colleagues will be voluntarily leaving over the next several months. While these voluntary reductions met our overall target, there are certain positions and geographic locations where we fell short of achieving the goals of the voluntary programs. With the additional capacity reductions noted above, we again must reassess our staffing needs. As in the past, voluntary programs are always our first consideration to adjust staffing needs.
Our merger provides the silver lining to these turbulent economic times as we begin to see tangible evidence of the benefits of our integration and understand how the merger positions Delta ahead of our competitors. Above all, your focus on executing the Flight Plan and providing superior customer service is our most prized attribute.
We will continue to make decisions that are in the long-term interest of employees, customers, shareholders and the communities we serve. Remaining focused on our 2009 Flight Plan will be key to our success. This will require teamwork from all divisions and departments working toward this common goal. Thank you for the incredible work you do for our customers every day. Together, we are building a stronger Delta.
About Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines is the world’s largest airline. From its hubs in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-JFK, Salt Lake City and Tokyo-Narita, Delta, its Northwest subsidiary and Delta Connection carriers offer service to 379 destinations in 66 countries and serve more than 170 million passengers each year. Delta’s marketing alliances allow customers to earn and redeem either SkyMiles or WorldPerks on more than 16,000 daily flights offered by SkyTeam and other partners. Delta‘s more than 70,000 employees worldwide are reshaping the aviation industry as the only U.S. airline to offer a full global network. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes, check bags and flight status at delta.com
Statements in this news release that are not historical facts, including statements regarding our estimates, expectations, beliefs, intentions, projections or strategies for the future, may be “forward-looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the estimates, expectations, beliefs, intentions, projections and strategies reflected in or suggested by the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the cost of aircraft fuel; the effects of the global recession; the effects of the global financial crisis; the impact of posting collateral in connection with our fuel hedge contracts; the impact that our indebtedness will have on our financial and operating activities and our ability to incur additional debt; the restrictions that financial covenants in our financing agreements will have on our financial and business operations; labor issues; the ability to realize the anticipated benefits of our merger with Northwest; the integration of the Delta and Northwest workforces; interruptions or disruptions in service at one of our hub airports; our increasing dependence on technology in its operations; our ability to retain management and key employees; the ability of our credit card processors to take significant holdbacks in certain circumstances; the effects of terrorist attacks; and competitive conditions in the airline industry.
Additional information concerning risks and uncertainties that could cause differences between actual results and forward-looking statements is contained in our Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2008. Caution should be taken not to place undue reliance on our forward-looking statements, which represent our views only as of March 10, 2009, and which we have no current intention to update.