Alison Sider of the Wall Street Journal asked whether Delta supports a CARES Act extension (airline payroll support), since Delta CEO Ed Bastian hasn’t been nearly as public on the issue as others like American’s Doug Parker.
Bastian was in a tough spot.
- The first round of payroll support had the government providing $5,436,331,186 to Delta. A straight extension of the payroll support program would presumably provide another $5.4 billion.
- But the purpose of the program is to prevent furloughs. At this point Delta hasn’t furloughed anyone. They’re in talks with their pilots over whether 1700 furloughs (the only ones on the table) can be avoided.
- Delta has successfully reduced their payroll through leaves and early retirements such that $5.4 billion would now be about 100% of payroll for 8 months at the airline. That’s a far cry from ‘what’s needed to avoid furloughs’ let alone a small piece of payroll for just six months.
Bastian said of course they support it! Then he pivoted to talking about Delta’s successes, being able to “save 40% of employee costs.” Then he returned to saying “that’s my view on that…we’re still hopeful something will happen” to extend CARES Act money and give Delta another $5.4 billion in federal subsidies.
Pressed on whether it’s less of a priority for Delta than other airlines, Bastian offered “I don’t think it’s less of a priority for Delta..we would be pleased to see [CARES Act money] given to all the industry.” Of course they would!