MINNEAPOLIS -- Delta Air Lines Inc. said Wednesday that 2,000 employees will take voluntary buyouts beginning in September as the carrier continues its cost-cutting in the face of high fuel prices.
The airline reported that it made money in the second quarter despite $1 billion in higher jet fuel costs, but profits declined 58 percent, to $198 million, from the same period last year.
CEO Richard Anderson said other revenue growth, including passenger revenue, helped offset the fuel expense.
"High fuel prices are putting significant pressure on the industry, but the benefits of Delta's strategic actions and the dedication of Delta employees are evident in the solid profit we produced despite more than $1 billion in higher fuel expense," he said in a statement.
"Our revenue momentum, coupled with the capacity reductions we are making in September and actions to get our non fuel costs to 2010 levels, will generate the margins we need to hit our return targets."
Bloomberg News reported that Delta's profit of 43 cents a share lagged behind the 44-cent average estimate in a Bloomberg survey.
Anderson told analysts that "2,000 employees elected to participate in voluntary exit programs. Those exits will begin when we begin pulling down flying in September and be completed by the end of the year."
The airline also is consolidating facilities in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Cincinnati and Memphis, he said.
Delta also said it plans to use fare increases and other means to recover fuel cost increases through its ticket prices and plans to reduce its December-quarter capacity by 4 to 5 percent from a year earlier, an increase from earlier forecasts. In addition, 140 aircraft will be retired by the end of next year, Including the entire DC9 and Saab turbo-prop fleets, and 60 50-seat regional jets, the Atlanta-based company said.