Delta Likely to Cut 2,000 Jobs

Last Updated Jan 15, 2009 7:37 PM EST

Earlier this month, I predicted that Delta Air Lines would be the carrier with the most job cuts in 2009 and it seems to be heading in that direction. Delta chief executive Richard Anderson told reporters in Tokyo that the company expected 2,000 employees to take early retirement or severance packages and the company's revenues have dropped to the lowest point since the aftermath of 9-11.

"We will know more towards the end of this month, because we gave employees a wide window so that they can make the right decision," he told Reuters. The voluntary severance will be available for employees with 10 years or more of service. Pilots and other salaried employees aren't eligible for the plan. Delta has around 75,000 employees.

The company seems to really like the number 2,000. That's the same number of buyouts given in two rounds of job cuts in 2008, for a grand total of 4,000. (The company said the buyouts saved around $200 million.) It's also approximately the same number of jobs cut from Northwest Airlines before their merger.

And even while Anderson waxed positively about fuel costs saving the company money, even the most optimistic analysts know that more job cuts are coming. Delta's shares fell 10 percent in the last year, and as long as stock prices climb when companies lay off workers, it will continue. After reports of the buyouts became public this morning, Delta shares rose 31 cents.