Delta Acknowledges Threat of Pilot Strike Cost Millions

ATLANTA_Delta Air Lines Inc. asked a bankruptcy judge to approve its agreement with pilots for about $280 million (€220.52 million) in annual contract concessions and acknowledged for the first time that the threat of a pilots strike had cost the carrier millions of dollars (euros) per week.

In a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, the United States' No. 3 carrier said Tuesday the agreement will save its debtors hundreds of millions a year "which is vital to the Debtors' transformation and long-term survival."

Delta, which filed for bankruptcy protection in September, previously agreed to $1 billion (€790 million) in annual concessions, including a 32.5 percent wage cut, in a five-year deal in 2004. It then sought an additional $325 million (€256 million) in cuts from its nearly 6,000 pilots, who threatened to strike as an April 15 deadline for an agreement approached.

"Even the threat of a pilot strike was costing Delta millions of dollars per week in lost sales, as concerned passengers and shippers booked flights on other airlines," Delta said in its filing, adding to its argument that the court should accept the pilot agreement.