Mar 13, 2020 - Economy & Business

Delta cuts capacity deeper than post-9/11 levels due to coronavirus

Delta plane

Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

Delta Airlines announced Friday it will reduce its flight capacity by 40% for the next four months due to the coronavirus outbreak, a dramatic increase from its original 15% reduction.

The big picture: It's a deeper cut to capacity than Delta instituted after the Sept. 11 attacks. The airline industry has had to curb flights as it grapples with lack of demand, as Americans are advised to avoid nonessential travel. Delta CEO Ed Bastian will also forgo his entire salary for the year.

“I ask all of you to see what you can do to help us save cash," Bastian wrote in an internal memo. He noted several more changes:

  • All flights to Europe except London will be halted for at least 30 days.
  • Reducing capital expenditures for the year by $2 billion.
  • "Offering short-term, unpaid leaves" and a hiring freeze.
  • Substantial reduction in contractors and consultants.

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