Delta announces biggest flight capacity cuts in history because of coronavirus, even deeper than after 9/11

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Delta Air Lines announced major cuts to its capacity Friday because of the coronavirus. The company said it is facing worse conditions and making deeper cuts than after the 9/11 terror attacks.

“The speed of the demand fall-off is unlike anything we’ve seen — and we’ve seen a lot in our business,” CEO Ed Bastian wrote in a memo to employees that was obtained by CNN.

The company will make an “overall capacity reduction in the next few months of 40% — the largest capacity reduction in Delta’s history, including 2001,” Bastian wrote. “The situation is fluid and likely to be getting worse.”

The cuts include parking up to 300 of its aircraft.

Bastian said he will not take a salary for the next six months, and asked employees to “see what you can do to help us save cash.”

He urged employees to consider “a voluntary leave” but did not announce any layoffs or furloughs.

Delta’s announcement matched steep cuts at other airlines that began even before Wednesday’s announcement by President Trump that travel between the United States and Europe would be restricted.

The International Air Transport Association said Thursday its prediction a week ago that the virus would deliver a $113 billion blow to the industry is already outdated because of the severity of the travel restrictions.

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