DALLAS – Delta Air Lines (DL) pilots addressed an open letter to customers, describing the significant number of recent flight delays, cancellations, and cuts as “unacceptable” and stating that they were flying a record amount of overtime.
On May 26, DL announced that from July 1 to August 7, it would restrict its services by around 100 daily flights. On Thursday, the airline amended the announcement, noting that weekend cancellations had decreased by 35% since May and that it was employing more pilots and staff and starting the boarding process earlier.
Delta also stated it would continue to change flights as part of a plan to “strategically reduce our flight schedule this summer” in order to “increase system resilience and improve operational reliability.” With the flight cuts, DL has joined a slew of other airlines in canceling large numbers of flights this summer, citing staffing shortages caused by the pandemic as the cause.
However, the Hill reports that the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the world’s largest pilot union, denied that there was a staffing crisis, claiming in a June 7 press release that the airlines were promoting false allegations of “a dearth of available pilots” in order to undermine safety requirements for profit.
“The United States is producing a record number of pilots, yet some are still trying to claim we need to weaken aviation safety rules to fix a problem that doesn’t exist,” said ALPA president Capt. Joe DePete in a statement. According to data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), 8,000 new pilots were qualified in the previous 12 months, according to ALPA.
Delta Air Lines Chief of Operations John Laughter said in a statement on Thursday that recovering from the pandemic has been difficult, adding that the airline had never had to bring back its operations at this speed.
Delta pilots, on the other hand, chastised the company’s management in the open letter, which reads…