Delta Pilots Fight For Benefits

October 4, 2005 ( - Delta Air Lines Inc. has asked a bankruptcy court to allow it to stop funding some pilots' pensions.

Delta, which filed for bankruptcy last month, has said it could miss pension payments for 3,500 retired Pilots, Reuters reports.  

According to Reuters, the Delta’s Pilots Pension Preservation Organization argues that the bankruptcy code bars companies from unilaterally changing or eliminating benefits that were agreed upon as part of union contracts.   The organization has backing on its stance from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).   A day after the bankruptcy filing, the head of the PBGC issued a statement saying the Air Lines would still be required to make its pension contributions (See  PBGC to Airlines: Pension Contributions Still Required ).

In a court filing, Delta said it should be given the same relief from pension liabilities that other airlines in bankruptcy have been given.   “…[E]very one of the major legacy carriers in Chapter 11 (United Airlines, US Airways, and Northwest Airlines) has, under well-established law, halted payment of some or all of the very pre-petition obligations that (the retirees) wrongfully seek to compel Delta to pay,” Delta said, according to Reuters.

Pilots for United Air Lines recently lost their battle to prevent termination of their pension plan (See  United Pilots Lose Fight to Keep Pension Alive ).