Delta will implement the largest capacity cut in its history as cancellations are exceeding new bookings for travel over the next four weeks. 

A 40% capacity cut will last for the “next few months,” CEO Ed Bastian said in a letter to employees Friday. Up to 300 aircraft will be parked. 

A sizeable portion of the cuts will come from Europe. Bastian said Delta will eliminate flying to continental Europe for 30 days as the U.S. ban on travel from the continent is ongoing. Service to London, which isn’t subject to the ban, will continue. 

“The speed of the demand fall-off is unlike anything we’ve seen -- and we’ve seen a lot in our business,” Bastian wrote. 

To counter the collapse, Delta will defer new aircraft deliveries, reduce capital expenditures by at least $2 billion for the year and substantially reduce the use of contractors and consultants. The carrier has also frozen hiring and is offering unpaid leave to employees. 

“We’ll be making more critical decisions in the days to come,” Bastian said. “The situation is fluid and likely to be getting even worse.” 

He added that Delta is better positioned to weather a massive downturn than it has ever been. 

“We will get through this, and taking strong, decisive action now will ensure that we are properly positioned to recover our business when customers start to travel again,” he wrote.


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