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Delta announces hiring freeze, capacity reduction over coronavirus

The airline expects to reduce capacity by 10-15% for domestic flights.

ATLANTA — Delta says it is instituting a hiring freeze, offering voluntary leave options for employees and reducing its capacity to cope with the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

A capacity reduction can include either canceled flights or using smaller planes instead of larger ones - effectively, fewer seats being sold.

Delta said it expected to reduce capacity on domestic flights by 10-15%.

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The outbreak has already resulted in serious travel advisories to countries such as South Korea and China, disrupting international operations. Delta says it is reducing capacity on its Pacific flights 65%.

Delta said it was expecting 15-20% reductions in transatlantic flights, and 5% reductions in flights to Latin America.

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“As the virus has spread, we have seen a decline in demand across all entities, and we are taking decisive action to also protect Delta’s financial position," Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a statement. "As a result, we have made the difficult, but necessary decision to immediately reduce capacity and are implementing cost reductions and cash flow initiatives across the organization.”

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