Delta slashes flights by 40% as virus cripples global travel

Delta Air Lines will cut existing flights by 40% to deal with a nosedive in travel demand, and it is talking to the White House and Congress about assistance to get through the downturn.

The 40% cut in passenger-carrying capacity is the largest in Delta’s history, surpassing reductions that were made after the September 2001 terror attacks.

And the outlook for airlines is still getting worse.

“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 said in a memo to Delta’s 90,000 employees Friday.

“We are in discussions with the White House and Congress regarding the support they can provide to help us through this period. I’m optimistic we will receive their support,” he said, adding however that the airline “can’t put our company’s future at risk waiting on aid from our government.”

Bastian said the airline is preserving cash and reducing costs.

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