SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – At the Salt Lake City International Airport, Delta Air Lines pilots were picketing Thursday, demanding change for schedule practices they say are leaving them overworked and fatigued.
“We’re working longer days, shorter nights, shorter layovers, more time away from home,” says Captain Evan Baach, a spokesperson for the Delta chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association.
More than 70 Delta Air Lines pilots were seen marching, silently holding signs that said things like “if I look tired, it’s because I am” and “fatiguing schedules equal poor reliability”.
“Delta pilots were frontline leaders during the pandemic, we’re proud to fly our customers safely, on time to their destinations and our company is just not staffing correctly,” Baach said.
He says that pilots are tired and overworked – and that the company is staffing more flights with fewer pilots.
“Delta customers have come to expect a certain level of reliability from Delta Air Lines and we’re concerned there’s not enough buffer in the system for a bad weather day or regular operations really.”
They say they’re hoping to send a message that leads to solutions to their concerns.
“We want them to match their words with their actions. Delta customers and pilots deserve better,” Baach said.
Many people at the airport showed support, honking and cheering as they passed by.
“Good for them for standing up for what they think they need for their profession. They’re showing support to one another so it’s great,” said Kyle Grossarth, who was at the airport.
Delta released a statement to ABC4 in response to these pickets.
“This informational exercise by some of our off-duty pilots will not disrupt our operation for our customers. All of our pilot schedules meet or exceed safety requirements set by FAA as well as those outlined in our pilot contract. As we continue to deliver industry-leading operational reliability and recover our network, we are also balancing ways to improve schedules for our pilots. All of our people, including our pilots, are working hard to restore our airline and deliver for our customers as we emerge from the pandemic. We are grateful for and proud of their efforts.”
After this stop, they plan to picket at airports in Detroit, Seattle and Minneapolis later this month.