Thousands of Delta Air Lines employees will get a 4% salary raise starting May 1, after CEO Ed Bastion said in an internal memo that despite the Omicron variant, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and rising oil prices, the Atlanta-based carrier was confident in turning a profit in 2022.
“It was two years ago this month that the United States declared a national emergency over the COVID-19 outbreak, which began the most difficult and challenging time in the history of our company,” Bastion wrote in Thursday’s memo.
“We’ve come a long way since the darkest days of 2020,” the memo continued. “Two years ago, our revenue plunged 95% almost overnight as travel demand evaporated. Today, we are forecasting a profit for the month of March.”
Unlike other airlines, Delta avoided furloughing any of its flight attendants during the pandemic’s peak, but many employees were persuaded to take long periods of unpaid leave or retire early.
“This well-earned base pay increase, for eligible scale and merit employees globally, is the direct result of the dedication, hard work, and excellence that you demonstrate every day,” the memo continued.
The wage rise comes just weeks after Delta employees received a portion of a $108 million profit-sharing program that was unexpected.
Delta gave out a profit share for the first time since February 2020.
Delta, like many other airlines and aviation industries, has struggled to hire enough staff to meet the growing demand for air travel.
Bastion told a conference in London earlier this week that the airline had just had its best week ever in terms of ticket sales, as demand soars as countries lift pandemic-era restrictions.
Bastion is also upbeat about the crisis in Ukraine, claiming that after a brief slowdown when President Vladimir Putin ordered his soldiers to attack neighboring Ukraine, demand has rebounded.