Get ready for more news like this:
Delta Air Lines, currently assimilating the operations of Northwest Airlines, which it acquired last year, said it's giving buyouts to 2,100 workers who have applied, and may eliminate even more jobs. Last year, Delta cut 4,000 jobs. (It currently has 70,000 employees, including the Northwest work force).
As part of what it called a "massive downsizing" underway throughout the domestic airline industry, Delta indicated that it might also make further reductions in seat capacity. Last year, Delta reduced its capacity by 11 percent (with most of the cuts hitting domestic routes) and said in December that it planned a further 6-8 percent reduction this year. Toay's announcement indicates that the cuts might go even deeper.
Too many reporters chronically parrot the incremental palaver they get dropped into their tin cups from from their main sources, airline front offices. Here's my prediction: By the end of this year, our domestic air-travel system will be 20 to 25 percent smaller that it was two years ago. That means fewer options, more connections to get there, fewer flights, higher fares, planes more packed full than ever, lousier customer service -- and a big public outcry about the deterioration of our national air transportation system and the utter lack of preparation our government has demonstrated so far.