A group of retired Delta Air Lines Inc. pilots have filed a class-action lawsuit against the Atlanta-based carrier in an attempt to force the airline to make contributions to its pension plan for pilots, according to court papers. The Delta Pilots' Pension Preservation Organization, with about 2,600 members, filed the suit Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, where Delta's Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection case is pending. The group is seeking to "compel Delta to comply with its obligations to make contributions to its tax-qualified pilot pension plan," according to the filing.
The airline "will respond though the court process at the appropriate time," Delta spokesman Anthony Black said in an e-mail Friday.
The group of retired pilots filed a motion in Delta's bankruptcy case in September seeking to force the company to make required pension plan contributions. U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Prudence Carter Beatty denied that motion in October. The ruling, which the retired pilot group is appealing, allowed Delta to forego a $160 million required pension contribution in October. Delta had just more than $7 billion in defined benefit pension assets as of Sept. 30, according to data the airline supplied to Pensions & Investments.