More airline CEOs take pay cut amid outbreak

Despite the slowdown, some execs hold a more positive view of the challenges ahead

More airline CEOs take pay cut amid outbreak

JetBlue Airways’ Robin Hayes is the latest CEO to take a pay cut as the airline industry reels from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Hayes will receive a temporary salary reduction of 20% while other executives face similar pay cuts of differing amounts, Reuters reported.

READ MORE: 'Facts, not fear': Doctor urges reason in face of coronavirus panic

Other airline executives in North America are also opting for a smaller base pay or going without it entirely to keep costs to a minimum.

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz and President Scott Kirby are reportedly forgoing their own pay until the end of June, while Southwest CEO Gary Kelly will take a voluntary 10% pay cut.

Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian – who only recently rewarded 90,000 employees with hefty cash bonuses – is also skipping 100% of his pay for six months.

The company also recently announced plans to freeze hiring and is now giving employees the option to go on unpaid short-term leave.

READ MORE: COVID-19: How we're ensuring employees are alert but not alarmed

Despite the slowdown, however, Bastian has expressed a more positive view of the recent challenges to the airline industry.

“For more than a decade, Delta has been preparing for just this scenario,” he wrote in an email to customers. “Operations are our lifeblood. We’ve learned from past experience with outbreaks, like H1N1 and Ebola, and have continually refined and improved our ability to protect our customers.”

“That includes the way we circulate clean and fresh air in our aircraft with highly advanced HEPA filters, the new fogging procedures in our cleaning process, how we sanitize aircraft between flights and how we respond if a customer is displaying symptoms.”

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