Delta is shuffling its management ranks as coronavirus reshapes airline needs

  • Delta's managers could be shifted to other departments where staffing is more in-need. 
  • The airline's goal isn't to reduce headcount, the company said.
  • Some 17,000 Delta employees have already accepted buyouts and early retirement offers.

Delta Air Lines this week started shuffling its management ranks as the slimmed-down airline adjusts to the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 17,000 Delta employees — close to a fifth of its pre-pandemic staff — accepted buyouts or early retirement packages over the summer. Now the airline is rethinking where it needs to bulk up and trim departments, but the goal isn't to reduce overall headcount, said spokesman Morgan Durrant.

Delta's reshuffling will affect dozens of managers. It could include moving people to departments like Delta's Global Cleanliness Division, which it established in June in response to the virus and other areas related to the daily operation of the airline. 

Employees can apply for new jobs or take buyouts.

"As Delta becomes a smaller, more nimble and more efficient company, we are realigning salaried employee staffing," Durrant said in a statement. "This includes filling critical roles left open as a result of recent retirements and departures and realigning roles to accelerate key business priorities. Salaried employees whose role has been impacted may apply for an open role or choose a comprehensive voluntary exit package."

American Airlines and United Airlines earlier this year cut their management ranks and announced departures of some high-level officers.

Late last month, Delta said it was shifting some functions to other executives after COO Gil West retired.

Delta is scheduled to report third-quarter results before the market opens next Tuesday.

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