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Delta To Cut Up To 7,000 Jobs

Delta Air Lines will cut up to 7,000 jobs — or 10 percent of its work force — during the next 18 months and reduce wages for other employees, the company's chief executive said Wednesday.

Despite the layoffs and other cost-cutting measures, "bankruptcy is a real possibly," CEO Gerald Grinstein said.

Delta, the nation's third-largest carrier, has lost more than $5 billion and trimmed 16,000 jobs in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Grinstein did not specify where the latest job cuts would be made, but said management cuts would help reduce administrative overhead costs by 15 percent. A reduction in wages will be announced by the end of the month and employees will be expected to pay larger contributions for health insurance.

In addition, Delta will no longer use the Dallas-Fort Worth airport as one of its four hubs, Grinstein said during a meeting with 300 of the company's middle managers. Instead, Delta will expand its hubs in Cincinnati and Salt Lake City with redeployed aircraft from Dallas-Fort Worth.

Delta has been warning investors for months that it may have to file bankruptcy if it didn't get deep wage cuts from its pilots — a minimum of $1 billion in concessions. Pilots had previously offered up to $705 million.

"We're working hard and fast to avoid (bankruptcy)," Grinstein said.

The changes announced Wednesday are part of Delta's goal to save more than $5 billion by 2006.