Friday, September 3, 2004

Delta's plan due Wednesday


Airline will use a webcast
to reveal turnaround strategy

By James Pilcher
Enquirer staff writer

Delta Air Lines Thursday said it would unveil details of its turnaround plan next week.

The closely guarded plan - which includes a previously unveiled fare restructuring for Cincinnati, Delta's second-largest hub - has been the subject of much speculation.

Delta officials have said the plan is the Atlanta-based airline's blueprint for returning to profitability without entering into bankruptcy protection, although they also say the company needs $1 billion a year in cost cuts from the airline's pilots.

The union reported progress in ongoing talks Thursday, but spokesman Chris Renkel said rumors of an imminent deal were false.

Delta, which employs more than 8,000 people in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky (including workers at Erlanger-based subsidiary Comair), has lost more than $5 billion in the last three years.

The initial phase is to be announced at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday by chief executive officer Gerald Grinstein in a webcast that can be viewed at www.delta.com/inside/investors/index.jsp.

Other than the fare plan, no details have been released. Some analysts have speculated that Delta could close smaller, less profitable hubs in Dallas and Salt Lake City and concentrate on its East Coast and Midwest operations.

Job cuts are also in question. Grinstein told workers two weeks ago that the plan would require job cuts, although he didn't say if there would be layoffs.

Delta stock closed Thursday at $4.12, up 16 cents.

E-mail jpilcher@enquirer.com



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