Delta Posts Profits and Cuts Jobs

With an eye to increasing profit margins, Delta will be cutting jobs among its management and salaried workers. Should travelers be concerned that service will suffer?

Recent Delta headlines have told decidedly different stories, some with a good-news angle, some less so:

  • A $2.2 billion profit for the first half of 2015
  • A 5 percent decrease in unit revenue for September
  • A 14.5 percent pay raise for many of the airline’s 80,000 workers

And the latest, according to the Atlanta Constitution: Delta will cut an unspecified number of management jobs, to “improve productivity.”

The good news for travelers is that the upcoming cuts won’t immediately affect the airline’s frontline workers, who deal directly with customers. But the improvement in productivity means fewer workers to perform the same tasks. Unless there is considerable bloat among the workforce, either less will be accomplished, or the quantity will remain the same but the quality of the work will suffer. In either case, the administrative shortfall will eventually trickle down to the front lines, where it will affect the service provided to travelers.

So, is there organizational fat that can be excised with no effect on operations? Or is Delta, in its zeal to maintain profit margins, cutting too deep?

It will be months before we know. In the meantime, there are 10,000 Delta workers wondering whether today—or tomorrow, or the next day—will be the day they’re called into their supervisor’s office and given the bad news.

Reader Reality Check

Which Delta department would you single out for downsizing?

This article originally appeared on

By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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