A group of retired Delta Air Lines Inc. pilots wants the federal court overseeing the airline's Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization to force the company to make required pension plan contributions, according to court papers. The Delta Pilots' Pension Preservation Organization, which has about 1,800 retired Delta pilots as members, filed a motion Friday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York saying Delta "has unilaterally increased the risk of an involuntary termination" of its pension plans by the PBGC "by promising to skip" the airline's October minimum pension contribution.
Delta CEO Gerald Grinstein said in a Sept. 15 letter to retirees that officials of the Atlanta-based carrier "do not plan to make the upcoming qualified defined benefit plan funding contributions," according to a copy of the letter attached to the motion. The filing said the retired pilots comprise the only group of Delta retirees whose pensions are provided under a collective bargaining agreement.
The court will consider the retired pilots' request at a hearing Oct. 6. The objection deadline is 5 p.m. EDT Sept. 30.
Anthony Black, a Delta spokesman, said the airline would respond through court filings that will be made public soon.