SALT LAKE CITY — Pilots with Delta Air Lines picketed outside Salt Lake City International Airport Thursday, claiming they are being overworked due to the company's scheduling.
The pilots have gathered in uniform outside the Terminal 1 departure area. Salt Lake City International Airport is one of Delta's major hubs in the U.S. They say with so many people eager to travel again after the pandemic, there are simply too many flights and not enough pilots, resulting in too much overtime and fatigue for crews.
Many protesting held signs that read "If I look tired, it's because I am."
Pilots said safety is their number one concern and want Delta management to correct the imbalance.
"They’re trying to staff more flights than pilots available. And our concern is, on a bad weather day or when there is some sort of irregular operation, that there’s not enough buffer or wiggle room in the schedule to give customers the operational reliability they have come to know and expect from Delta Air Lines,” said Capt. Evan Baach.
In a message titled "Delta Passengers and Pilots Deserve Better" on the union website, the pilots say the airline is operating more flights with few pilots, which leaves "no wiggle room for weather delays and operational strains." They are asking management to listen to their scheduling concerns that keep pilots away from home.
Delta officials sent FOX 13 News a statement which said that pilot schedules remain in line with all requirements set by the FAA as well as those outlined in their contract with pilots.
Capt. Baach said pilots will never operate an aircraft tired or fatigued, but staffing levels just don’t line up right now and the airline is trying to staff too many flights with too few pilots.
The pilots have additional protests scheduled later this month in Detroit, Seattle and Minneapolis.