Delta Air Lines, which took over rival Northwest Airlines last year, said it expects about 2,000 staff to opt for early retirement as it aims to trim capacity by up to 8 per cent this year. The latest move by the world’s biggest airline highlights a trend among major airlines trying to ride out the global economic recession. In December, Delta, which has about 75,000 staff worldwide, said it would offer employees severance packages, but it didn’t say how many jobs it aimed to cut. “We are expecting a number of around 2,000 because the capacity reduction is going to be around 6 to 8 per cent,” Delta CEO Richard Anderson told reporters on the sidelines of a media briefing in Tokyo, according to Reuters. In March 2008, Delta announced 2,000 job cuts and offered voluntary severance packages. More than 4,000 workers took advantage of the packages and prior to the merger, Northwest trimmed its staff by about 2,000 workers. Japan Airlines plans to cut about 10 percent of its total work force by end of March while Singapore Airlines is reportedly planning to ask its cargo pilots to take unpaid leave as the carriers face tough operating conditions. Atlanta-based Delta said last month its domestic capacity would fall 8 per cent to 10 per cent in 2009, and international capacity would fall 3 per cent to 5 per cent as travel demand wanes. System-wide, that would mean a reduction of 6 to 8 per cent.
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