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DAL hearing on Nov 28 - any intel?

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Marriott Platinum Member
Dec 2, 2003
Since this IS Flightinfo, does anyone care to speculate what will transpire on the re-scheduled to Nov 28 hearing?

Hearings on Delta cut short
Pilot union, airline get time to talk

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 11/18/05

New York — Delta Air Lines and its pilots will have to wait until at least the end of the month for a ruling on the ailing company's request for court-imposed pay cuts.
After two days of bankruptcy court hearings that only scratched the surface of Delta's financial situation, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Prudence Beatty adjourned the matter late Thursday and told the two sides to return for more hearings Nov. 28.


That could give the union and Delta management time to reach an out-of-court agreement that would make rest of the hearing moot.
During Thursday's hearing, Delta's top finance executive said the carrier will burn through $5 million a day this winter and has little financial room to weather a fuel price spike or prolonged other surprises.
Ed Bastian, Delta's chief financial officer, said the "first objective" of the carrier's turnaround plan — which includes $325 million in annual pilot cost cuts — is to stop its financial bleeding and cut debt.
"This is a very volatile industry. There could be a fuel price spike," said Bastian, adding that the Atlanta airline's "balance sheet is in deep need of repair."
Delta, staggered by four years of losses and zooming fuel prices this year, in September filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and also asked the Air Line Pilots Association for a new round of contract cuts. After initial talks failed, it exercised its option to ask Beatty to impose the cuts.
ALPA contends Delta's proposal would really cost pilots at least $500 million a year, far exceeding what it needs for recovery.
"It's an overreach. It's way too much," Lee Moak, chairman of Delta's ALPA council, said outside the courtroom. The union contends Delta needs less than $90 million annually from the pilots and failed to account for about $200 million in unrealized savings from a $1 billion concession deal last year.
"We've tried to negotiate. They've never budged a penny," Moak said after the hearing, which ended Thursday before Bastian — only the second of 21 scheduled witnesses — was cross-examined by ALPA attorneys.
Last year, the pilots agreed to $1 billion in annual concessions, including a one-third pay cut, to help Delta stave off a bankruptcy filing. Delta also has imposed two rounds of pay cuts up to 10 percent on non-pilot employees, along with deeper cuts for executives.
Delta's new concessions plan includes a 19 percent wage cut, more reductions in pension plan costs and flexibility to shift more flying to regional carriers. Delta contends its pilots still would be paid slightly more than their counterparts at Northwest Airlines, whose pilots just agreed to pay cuts. Northwest filed for Chapter 11 the same day as Delta.
The union's offer includes pay cuts up to 9 percent. In court this week, the union said it offered to go to binding arbitration for pay cuts up to 15 percent but was rebuffed.
"This was a very important day because everyone got to see the financial situation of the company," Delta spokesman Dan Lewis said outside Thursday's hearing. "Our need came through very clear."
Beatty, however, said that Delta's numbers were "open to debate" in courtroom comments.
Delta, meanwhile, argued that ALPA's lower offer was based on flawed financial analysis.
Bastian said Delta "looked high and low in many places" before deciding to seek pay and job cuts, which are on top of about 25,000 job cuts in earlier cost-cutting rounds over four years.
"Absolutely the last place we would want to touch is our employee base because they have contributed many years to Delta," said Bastian.
Yeah, ALPA should be arguing for her to recuse herself after those comments. Clearly biased in favor of the company.

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