Struggling Delta Seeks Pension Settlement Approval

August 18, 2005 ( - Delta Air Lines has asked an Atlanta judge to grant final approval of a $16-million settlement of a pension lawsuit filed by retired pilots.

USDistrict Judge Julie Carnes of the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia is slated to conduct a hearing to consider any objections to the agreement, which she preliminarily okayed in May, Bloomberg reported. In the April 2002 suit, the plaintiffs challenged the way the company paid retirement benefits to pilots and spouses.

The financially beleaguered carrier admitted that its potential liability was quite large in the case. ”Given a putative class that numbered in the thousands, the plan’s potential liability could conceivably exceed a billion dollars, severely threatening the plan’s solvency,” the papers said.

The settlement will be funded primarily by pension plan assets and not cash supplied by Delta, according to court documents. The documents didn’t specify how many pilots or other pension beneficiaries would be affected by the settlement pact.

Delta recently announced it is selling Atlantic Southeast Airlines for $425 million.